Social exclusion research has mainly been focussing on people with mental health problems, younger and mid-life adults. Conversely, little research has been performed concerning social exclusion and older adults. This paper gives a review of research on social exclusion in later life and identifies how participation is addressed in this research.
A systematic literature review was performed. Relevant studies were identified through searches of databases (e.g. Web of Science & Sociological Abstracts) and bibliographies. Because of the heterogeneous nature of the methods of the included studies, a narrative synthesis was used to review the findings.
The review reveals four main outcomes. First, social exclusion in later life comprises various dimensions (e.g. material goods and social relationships), and as social exclusion differs throughout the life course some particular domains have been identified for later life (e.g. access to elderly services, ageism and neighbourhood exclusion). Notwithstanding, research including an age specific measure for social exclusion in later life is scarce. A second outcome is that most research considers participation as a dimension of social exclusion, however participation itself is diversely conceptualized. Third, the review presents drivers of later life social exclusion, in general and for the participation dimension more specific. Finally, the review addresses differences between rural and urban social exclusion.
The discussion highlights the main research gaps in social exclusion among older adults and formulates four main paths for future research. Finally, a theoretical framework incorporating individual, life-course and contextual variables to build an age specific social exclusion model is suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication43rd Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2014
Event43rd Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology - Southampton, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sep 20143 Sep 2014


Conference43rd Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology
CountryUnited Kingdom

    Research areas

  • Social Exclusion, Social Inclusion, Systematic Review, Later Life

ID: 2465766