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Understanding frailty and facilitating positive life-stage transition

The physiological and practical outcomes of frailty are recognised but the psychological consequences and correlates of becoming frail are largely unexplored. There is reason to expect the progression from a state of independence to one of relative dependence to be accompanied by significant psychological challenges and ill-being as individuals struggle to come to terms with their new status as a “frail person”. The broad aim of my PhD project is to advance understanding of the psychological consequences of becoming frail and encourage a more adaptive response to frailty amongst affected individuals. The project will draw on research from social psychology, particularly social identity theory and self-categorization theory and will investigate the relationship between experiences associated with ageing (stigma, stereotypes) and a range of health outcomes and mediating mechanisms underpinning this relationship.

By gaining a deeper understanding of these psychological processes, this project will establish proof-of-concept for the development of a new social intervention which facilitates a positive life-stage transition and minimises the harmful and costly health consequences of frailty.

Krystal Warmoth PhD Student

Supervisors: Mark Tarrant, Iain Lang, & Charles Abraham

Publications/Presentations:

Thinking you’re old and frail: A qualitative study of older adults’ beliefs regarding frailty

    British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Harrogate, UK
    European Health Psychology Society Conference, Bordeaux, France
    British Society of Gerontology Conference, Oxford, UK
    The Gerontological Society of America‘s 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, New Orleans, USA

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