GENPATH: A Life Course Perspective on the Gendered Pathways of Exclusion from Social Relations in Later Life, and its Consequences for Health and Wellbeing (Nova)

About the project

GENPATH is an international European research project focussing on social exclusion in later life and consequences for heath and wellbeing. Social exclusion is a multifaceted social problem with substantial disruptive consequences for individuals and society. One aspect of social exclusion is the exclusion from social relations, sometimes called social isolation, which is the main focus in this project.

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals within good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, and sustainable cities and communities.

Possible thesis questions

Students interested in this topic will in their master thesis focus on three key concepts: social isolation, gender and health and wellbeing. if interested, a cross national comparison can be conducted. Possible research questions are:

  1. Why is the risk of being socially isolated particularly high for older women as compared to older men?
  2. Are wellbeing outcomes of social isolation different for men and women, and if so, why?
  3. What is worse for health; being alone or feeling alone (lonely)?
  4. What is the lived experience of older Norwegians with respect to the times of social isolation under the corona pandemic?


Most of these questions can be answered with available quantitative data, such the European Quality of Life Survey; the Norwegian Life-course and generation Study (NORLAG) or the European Social Survey.

For the purpose of the project, we also interviewed 30 older Norwegians about their lived experience of social isolation and loneliness during their lives. All interviews are transcribed, and these transcriptions are now available for use by other people.

The interviews give very rich descriptions and can be used for many questions related to the life course, such as how conflicts over the life course are related to social isolation or loneliness in later life, or how transitions over the life course are associated with loneliness in later life, or which strategies older people use to avoid feeling lonely under the pandemic.

Relevant for which study options

This project is relevant for International Social Welfare and Health Policy

Up to 2 students can participate in this project

About us

See our web page:

Contact Person

Marja Aartsen –

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