Middle-aged women negotiating the ageing process through participation in outdoor adventure activities

C. Yvette Wharton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
320 Downloads (Pure)


This study sought to examine the motivations middle-aged women give for belonging to an outdoor adventure group. As part of this, how the women were negotiating the ageing process was also examined. Fourteen women aged 36–64 (average age 51.4 years) were individually interviewed with the purpose of exploring their perceptions, values, motivations and the beliefs they attach to their participation. Findings highlight the women’s belief that participation delays the ageing process, gives them confidence in their lives and offers social support from other group members. In addition, pride, satisfaction and pleasure were expressed in the belief that they challenged the cultural norms and expectations of older women. Whilst delaying the ageing process, they also highlighted that they thought about a time in the future when they would not be able to continue to participate. The study emphasises that more adventurous activities are becoming more normalised and can be undertaken by women in middle age. This may also suggest that more needs to be done to promote diverse activities such as outdoor adventurous activities to women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-822
Number of pages18
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number4
Early online date12 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Middle aged
  • Women
  • Adventure
  • Physical activity
  • Ageing


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