New partnerships among single older adults: A Q methodology study

Su Fei Huang, Chiu Mieh Huang, Shueh Fen Chen, Li Ting Lu, Jong Long Guo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The social structure is changing with an increase in the ratio of the older population, resulting in a growing number of older people being faced with singlehood. This study identified and described single older adults' differing perspectives on new relationships. Method: We used a Q methodology approach for data collection and analysis, following in-depth interviews with 10 participants. Q statements were developed through content analysis of the interview data, which were then subjected to Q sorts performed by 49 older adults. A factor analysis was then completed on the collected data using PQ Method software. Results: Five factors regarding common attitudes toward pursuing a new partner, which accounted for 53% of the total variance, were obtained in the final model: (1) being single, a companion, and already acquainted with the other person/potential partner; (2) high spiritual compatibility and a caring disposition; (3) an emphasis on physical intimacy and companionship; (4) easily influenced by others' comments and highly concerned about being alone; and (5) physical and financial independence. Conclusions: Clustering older adults according to their attitudes can help in acknowledging their expectations about new relationships in later life. Implications: Practitioners can engage in successful consultations based on the recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 6


  • Older adults
  • Partnerships
  • Q methodology
  • Single status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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