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Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute PRC

Geographies of subjective wellbeing in older age

Principal researcher

Linden Douma

Type of research



Prof.dr. Inge Hutter

Dr. Louise Meijering


The central issue of this qualitative research is experiences of subjective wellbeing (SWB) of older adults living in the region North East Groningen (the Netherlands), as embedded in their everyday cultural and spatial contexts. The term subjective wellbeing is defined as how an individual evaluates his or her life situation overall. We argue that the concept of SWB is particularly suitable to this study, because it extends beyond evaluations of the power class or intellectual class and includes older adults’ own perceptions and value systems, making them decide what makes their life good. Older adults’ perceptions on their wellbeing are especially valuable since they can define, describe best, and evaluate wellbeing in relation to their meaningful cultural and spatial contexts. In this study, we argue that the cultural contexts and places in which older adults continuously interact are worth considering more explicitly as they give a nuanced, realistic and contextualized perspective on subjective wellbeing in older age.

The research project is part of a collaborative program between three departments of the University of Groningen, namely; the department of Demography, the department of Epidemiology and the department of Sociology. The focus of this interdisciplinary program called ‘Healthy Ageing, Population and Society’ is on healthy ageing.
Last modified:07 August 2020 3.03 p.m.