Wenning, B, Polidano, K, Mallen, CD and Dikomitis, L (2022) Negotiating agency and belonging during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic: an interview study among older adults in England, UK. BMJ Open, 12 (5). e060405 - ?. ISSN 2044-6055

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OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to explore the agency of older adults and their strategies to restructure ways of being and belonging in a rapidly and radically changed social environment during the UK's first COVID-19 lockdown in Spring 2020.

DESIGN: Qualitative study consisting of semi-structured interviews. Findings were derived from a thematic analysis of interview transcripts. We also established a patient and public involvement and engagement group who advised on study design, interview topic guide and interpretation of findings.

SETTING: Interviews were conducted online with older adults in the UK through their platform of choice in Spring 2020 in England, UK.

PARTICIPANTS: We conducted 28 interviews (16 women, 12 men) with older adults over the age of 70 years. Our participants were mostly white, middle class adults.

RESULTS: From the data, we constructed three strategies that older adults used to employ agency and create spaces of belonging in their social networks despite lockdown restrictions. First, participants created a sense of belonging by being 'good' members of society who were knowledgeable about COVID-19. Second, older adults created new ways to socially engage with the wider community. Finally, older adults actively restructured social networks to preserve a sense of belonging.

CONCLUSIONS: Older adults are actively and creatively carving a space of belonging during the societal upheaval in response to the COVID-19 lockdown and public health restrictions. Rather than internalising potential exclusionary messages based on their age, older adults instead used their agency to reimagine and transform spheres of belonging.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial.
Uncontrolled Keywords: qualitative research; mental health; public health; social medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2022 13:07
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2022 09:27
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/10926

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