Tatyana Shepel, PsyD, is a 2008 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

  • Mary Wieneke, Ph. D. (Committee Chair)
  • Liang Tien, Psy.D (Committee Chair)
  • Judith Gordon, Ph.D. (Committee Chair)


aging, self-image, women

Document Type


Publication Date



Age is a value-laden cultural construct as it conveys social attitudes toward aging. This qualitative research, using a grounded theory approach and critical feminist gerontology as a theoretical framework, makes visible the experience of growing older and the renegotiation of self-identity among the ten single, professional, highly educated women ages 47-59 who resided in the Pacific Northwest and lets their voices be heard. In this study ten in-depth interviews and one focus group provided narrative data that captured women’s experiences of aging and uncovered common themes. The explored phenomenon of aging is experienced in the various socio-cultural contexts and conditions by the participants who belonged to the Baby Boom generation with its unique history and diversity. Women’s aging is explained in grounded theory that questions problematic stereotyping of older single women and indicates the process of the emerging of a new identity of the Baby Boom women and the need for a cultural shift in attitudes toward aging. The participants of the study challenged socially constructed pathology of singlehood and the “old maid” stereotype by implementing specific strategies designed to make a transition to “graceful aging” in ways which preserve women’s independence, freedom, choice, and positive self-image. More research is needed to explore attitudes toward one’s aging among older minority women, women with low socio-economic background, and women with disabilities.