Usual Roles for Men and Women Raising Families

Usual Roles for Men and Women Raising Families in the 1950s after World War II

Background of researched generation or individual, historical and present

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The 1950s epoch is often perceived as an era of conformity, during which both genders adhered to their stringent roles and acted following the society’s expectations. After the damage and devastation caused by the Great Depression and the Second World War, numerous people in the society chose to build a society that is both peaceful and successful. Even though it was expected that women would identify themselves fundamentally as wives and mothers and to steer clear of work outside the home setting, women continued to constitute a substantial percentage of the post-World War II labor force. The culmination of the war instigated significant changes. Notably, working women were supplanted by the soldiers who were returning home after the war. The communications relayed in popular culture, as well as mass media, prompted women to forego their jobs and quietly go back to domestic life.

Furthermore, in the 1950s, there was a significant increase in marriages and also rates of homeownership. Consequently, this resulted in a substantial increase in premarital sex and also birthed rates. It is in this period that the baby boomers were born. This period and demographic inclination buttressed women’s identities as mothers and wives, whereas men to be the providers (Khan Academy, 2020).

During the Second World War period, as men went on to the battlefield to guarantee protection and success, the women joined the workforce, and during this period, women had ceased being just housewives as initially was. However, when the war came to an end, there was a complete reversal in these roles, with the women playing the housewife role in taking care of the family and bearing children, whereas the men took up the role of going to work and providing for the family. The age group of 65 years and above is a progressively increasing population. The cohort is referred to as Baby Boomers and encompasses the persons that are born between 1946 and 1964. Notably, this age cohort will be the largest population to get to late old-age in the present time. In the United States, it is expected that this population will get to 70 million by the year 2030. In reaction to this mounting elderly populace, there has been extensive examination done on the quality of life aspects.

Functional factors

Older age is characteristically linked to worse health, greater healthcare use, and heightened healthcare expenses. As a result, the significant number of aging baby boomers that are beyond 50 years and creating worries for the provision of health services. There are two fundamental perceptible concerns, and these include the massive size of the cohort and the perspective that baby boomers are dissimilar in terms of their necessities and attitudes towards healthcare from their ancestors (Canizares et al., 2016). It is imperative to note that baby boomers grew up at an epoch of social change, economic growth and development, and affluence with enhanced accessibility to education, prospects for employment, and also accessibility to health and welfare services. On the one hand, these developments have the potential to enhance the overall health of boomers and diminish their necessity for healthcare services. In contrast, these plusses have also added to lengthier life expectancy and enhancements in survival. As a result, individuals are living for more extended periods with the likelihood of developing multiple chronic disorders and therefore necessitating additional healthcare services (Canizares et al., 2016).

Health issues

The mounting size of the older populace has also implied a gradual increase in the number of older individuals with disabilities. The population growth of older adults continues to magnify and increase with the baby boomer age group almost coming to their age of retiring. The inference of this is that there is an increasing necessity for enhancing healthcare results amongst patients suffering from chronic illnesses. Research indicates that just about 75 percent of the elderly who are individuals aged 65 years and above have at least one chronic disease, and approximately 50 percent have at least two chronic sicknesses (Swett and Bishop, 2003). The inclination towards a rise in the size of the elderly populace within the United States gives the implication that there are increased rates of disability. Furthermore, the research study indicates that mental illness, more so depression and anxiety, is a significant issue for adults aged 65 years and above. Specifically, the frequency rates of mental sickness amongst elderly adults are 12.3 percent for those living within the general community, 70 percent for those residing in nursing homes, and a rate of 50 percent for the persons in acute-care hospitals (Swett and Bishop, 2003).

Rinfrette (2009) indicates that anxiety and depressive illnesses and symptoms are considerably prevalent amongst the elderly. A wide range of concerns regarding traumatic live events like worries about health problems, financial status, and change in societal roles might be some of the causes. These persons might start to have worries about their mortality owing to aging or health problems, think about their purpose and role in life after retirement, and their offspring become grown-ups and relocate or worry about their capabilities to become self-reliant and provide for themselves. Whereas some of these concerns might be prevalent for numerous older adults, having excessive and incessant concerns can result in an anxiety disorder.

Emotional well-being

There is a significant concern for the emotional well-being of baby boomers. Imperatively, in recent times, suicide signifies a fundamental cause of death in America, being responsible for 31,000 deaths on an annual basis. The elderly, together with young adults, are considered to be the cohort that is at the highest risk. Approximately 20 percent of all the successful suicides are undertaken by individuals that are beyond the age of 65 years old, with makes that are aged 69 years and above, bearing the highest rate of suicides that are completed. Notably, elderly patients, more so men, have a higher likelihood of successfully committing suicide when they attempt. This is mainly owing to the reason that they are less probable to be emotional, cry, or seek out assistance. Also, they have accessibility to potentially destructive medications and might employ lethal approaches such as guns (Hall, Hall, and Chapman, 2003). As people get older in life, both men and women become progressively more introverted.

Furthermore, there is a higher likelihood of older individuals experiencing huge mood swings. These changes are, for the most part, as a result of changes in the nervous system. These also affect the emotional well-being of older individuals. There are also aspects that this cohort faces that also impacts their emotional status. For instance, enforced retirement has a significant impact on peoples’ well-being, mainly if they wanted to continue the work they were doing. Also, since they have lived for a while, individuals in this age cohort face the issue of bereavement. This is especially if the deceased was someone that the elderly individual was dependent upon, such as a wife or husband.

Social, economic, and environmental well-being

Regarding the social and environmental well-being of the population, research indicates that the proportion of older adults is higher in rural regions as compared to the rest of the United States. With the number of persons aged 65 years and above increasing, there is an expectation that the rural expanses will experience the greatest outpouring in this age group. In recent times, several rural regions are growing into naturally occurring retirement communities, also delineated as communities that contain a massive percentage of older persons. It is projected that if the aging baby boomers, who include those born between the mid-40s and mid-60s are to adhere to past patterns of migration, it is expected that the population of the elderly in rural regions will rise to over 14 million by 2020 (Baernholdt et al., 2012).

From an environmental well-being perspective, the majority of the older adult population migrate to the rural regions or opt to remain living there owing to considerations of quality of life. In definition, quality of life is a conception that encompasses physical and mental health, social, functioning, as well as emotional well-being (Baernholdt et al., 2012). Notably, the beautiful landscape and the sentiments of being connected to the community and land, in addition to the sharing and assisting nature of people that is present amongst people in rural regions, are amongst the reasons why the older individuals feel that their quality of life may be better in rural expanses. Research studies conducted by various scholars have demonstrated that physical health is worse amongst the rural population as compared to the population in the urban areas. However, physical health is the worst amongst the elderly population (Cleary and Howell, 2006; Phillipson et al., 2008; Oguzturk, 2008).


Baernholdt, M., Yan, G., Hinton, I., Rose, K., & Mattos, M. (2012). Quality of life in rural and urban adults 65 years and older: findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. The Journal of Rural Health, 28(4), 339-347.

Canizares, M., Gignac, M., Hogg-Johnson, S., Glazier, R. H., & Badley, E. M. (2016). Do baby boomers use more healthcare services than other generations? Longitudinal trajectories of physician service use across five birth cohorts. BMJ Open, 6(9), e013276.

Cleary, K. K., & Howell, D. M. (2006). Using the SF-36 to determine perceived health-related quality of life in rural Idaho seniors. Journal of allied health, 35(3), 156-161.

Hall, R. C., Hall, R. C., & Chapman, M. J. (2003). Identifying geriatric patients at risk for suicide and depression. Clinical Geriatrics, 11, 36-44.

Khan Academy. (2020). Women in the 1950s: Learn about the myths and realities of women’s lives during the 1950s. Retrieved 8 March 2020 from

Oguzturk, O. (2008). Differences in quality of life in rural and urban populations. Clinical and investigative medicine, E346-E350.

Phillipson, C., Leach, R., Money, A., & Biggs, S. (2008). Social and cultural constructions of aging: the case of the baby boomers. Sociological Research Online, 13(3), 1-14.

Rinfrette, E. S. (2009). Treatment of anxiety, depression, and alcohol disorders in the elderly: Social work collaboration in primary care. Journal of evidence-based social work, 6(1), 79-91.

Swett, E. A., & Bishop, M. (2003). Mental health and the aging population: Implications for rehabilitation counselors. Journal of Rehabilitation, 69(2), 13.

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