The Gerontologist, Vol 32, Issue 5 618-626, Copyright © 1992 by The Gerontological Society of America
A path not taken: a cultural analysis of regrets and childlessness in the lives of older women
BB Alexander, RL Rubinstein, M Goodman and M Luborsky
Polisher Research Institute, Philadelphia Geriatric Center, PA 19141.
This paper explores regrets about childlessness in 90 older women
interviewed using qualitative methods. Regrets were discussed in the
context of the changing meaning of childlessness over the life course. We
found that issues of regret are situated in a cultural system that renders
childless women marginal. We argue that regrets should be understood in a
wider cultural context that incorporates the cultural construction of the
self over time.