Urine incontinence in women aged sixty to sixty-five: Negotiating meaning and responsibility

Ása Róin, Catharina Nord

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Urine incontinence (UI) has been the focus of a considerable number of research projects; yet, there is no evidence that the research has had an impact on the prevalence of UI. Despite great impact on daily living, women seem to be reluctant to seek help from professionals or talk about the problem. Apart from this, scholars have noted that healthcare practitioners rarely ask older women about this health aspect and seem to minimise the problem when confronted with it. Aim: The purpose of the study was to explore how meaning of UI was discursively constructed and negotiated by women bothered with long-term UI in the context of research interviews. Method: Seven women aged 60-65 living in the Faroe Islands were interviewed to elaborate on daily living with long-term UI. The interview texts were analysed by means of discourse analysis. Results: Three main themes emerged from the interviews. All the women related the disorder to their age and positioned themselves within the category 'old women' for whom UI was considered a normal condition. At the same time, they opposed to the idea that the condition was inevitable and accused their general practitioners of negligence by failing to take their complaints seriously. They felt ashamed of being incontinent and seemed to subject themselves to moral and aesthetic views about people who were not able to control their bladder function. Conclusion: All the women used different cultural discourses to make meaning of UI and continuously negotiated these meanings. Avoiding public exposure of their leaking problem restricted their daily living, and the embarrassment of not being able to control their bladder function seemed to overrule any wish of actively dealing with their present condition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-632
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Ageing
  • Discourse analysis
  • Interpretive repertoires
  • Interview
  • Urine incontinence
  • Women


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