Solo living in early adulthood : social integration, quality of life and future orientations

Lynn Jamieson, Frances Wasoff, Roona Simpson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract / Description of output

Living alone, or solo living, is one aspect of considerable household change occurring in many Western societies in recent decades, particularly amongst people of working age. There are however significant cross-cultural variations: within the UK, solo living has increased most rapidly in Scotland. The increasing incidence of solo living amongst adults in age groups typically associated with being partnered and parenting may be interpreted as an aspect of more general processes of social disintegration or of greater democracy in intimate relationships. This trend is also consequential for a range of policy areas such as pensions, health and housing. Recent analysis of people living alone below pensionable age in the UK (Lewis 2005, Wasoff et al. 2005b, Williams et al. 2004) casts doubt on the most pessimistic accounts and on the more simplistic ‘swinging-singles’ stereotypes. Solos are not a homogenous group, and the experience of living alone is mediated by factors such as gender, age, socio-economic circumstance, and routes into solo living. Growth in solo living is also not solely an urban phenomenon. This paper draws on ongoing research comparing the experiences of men and women aged 25-44 living alone in different rural and urban localities across Scotland. It explores variations in social capital and social integration, and future expectations regarding personal life such as partnership and parenting, as well as in relation to employment, housing and care needs. It concludes by considering the implications of the findings of this research to social theorising about individualism, intimacy, identity, sense of risk and social change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008
EventThe British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2008 - University of Warwick, Warwich, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Mar 2008 → …


ConferenceThe British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period28/03/08 → …


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