Resistance and Resilience
: The Attributes of Healthy Ageing for Older West Indians Living in the United Kingdom

  • Danielle Ward

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The overarching aim of this thesis was to understand how the processes of migration and associated experiences, placed within social and historical context, have contributed to the definition of healthy ageing among West Indian women and men growing older in the United Kingdom. Specific objectives were (1) to explore the post-migration factors influencing the definition of healthy ageing for older West Indians living in the UK and (2) to examine how these identified factors can be used to understand perceptions of healthy ageing for the aforementioned population. Utilising critical race theory and the resilient ageing concept, the current thesis aimed to contribute to the broader literature on the understandings of healthy ageing within ethnic minority communities and to inform the wider network of individuals working within these communities.

This thesis used qualitative methodologies to achieve its aim and objectives. One focus group (with five participants) and sixteen interviews were conducted with West Indians living in the wider Bristol and Bath areas. Participants were recruited through letters, emails and phone calls. NVivo was used to organise and code the data, which were then analysed thematically.

Findings showed that the participants’ post-migration experiences and construction of healthy ageing can be understood by utilising the concept of resilience, via resilient ageing. Four key factors were identified that can be used to understand perceptions of healthy ageing: social connections, involvement in activities, optimism and belief in a higher power.

The findings of the current thesis can be used in a transformative manner by considering how various structures in society, such as an adaptive and supportive environment or public service policies, can be modified to support the needs of this group, thereby contributing to their overall resilience.
Date of Award23 Jan 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorSarah Payne (Supervisor) & Saffron I Karlsen (Supervisor)

Cite this