Courtship and Dating
Rituals of Senior Citizens
Naomi Garneau, Meredith Salewicz, Amanda
Stanley and Stephen Sullivan (Group 10)
* We can’t show pictures of actual participants so we’ve included pictures of famous seniors to aid your
Abe Vigoda, 88
• What are the courtship dating rituals of senior citizens in
Ottawa’s Good Companions community centre and what are
their views on the subject?
• We formulated our research question out of personal
curiosity and intriguing secondary sources
• We were seeking prevalence and specific behaviours
• The Importance of Dating Relationships on Quality of Life for Older Persons
– This article concluded that older persons place greater emphasis on the compassionate as
opposed to passionate aspect of dating relationships. This was relevant to our study in that it
directly addressed the behaviour portion of our research question, provided a comparison for
our results, and gave us a clearer idea of what sort of questions we should ask.
• Widowhood and Mortality Among the Elderly
– This article discusses the fact that widowhood is very prominent among the elderly. We found
this to be quite true during our interview stage; having approximately half of the interviewees
being a widow or widower.
• Few Prizes for Women in Senior Dating Game
– This article states that odler men are twice as likely to be marred as older woman and that
women have much higher expectations when it comes to datiing. This article confirmed that
seniors do look for
• You Should Get Yourself a Boyfriend ‘But’ Let’s Not Get Serious
– This article was an ethnographic study of communication practices in a retirement
community. It is relevant to our study beacuse we observed both verbal and non-
verbal communication between adults who chose to particpate in activities geared
toward seniors, much like Wood did. This offered the potentional for a comparison of
Research Design: Observations
• A combination of observation and personal qualitative semi-structured interviews.
• Situations: Seniors dance in the evening on a weekday and lunch time in the
community centre for seniors
Dance: We chose this event because dancing is
something that is often associated with
courtship. It was a display of their sense of
community and it wasn’t particularly romantic.
Confirms the fact that courtship is more a social
than romantic activity.
Lunch: We chose this area because it had a lot
of seniors interacting in a casual space. We
observed the social clumping pattern of senior
citizens. The act of observation itself granted
us access to the site and the people for future
Research Design: Interviews
• 3 interviews per person
• 7 women : 5 men
• We used the same base set of questions as they applied for each person (i.e.
Married, Widowed, Single).
Participant Age Sex Marital Status
1 B F W, S
2 B M W, S
3 C F W, S
4 A F DV, S
5 C M DV, DA
6 A M W, DV, DA
7 B M M
8 A F M
9 A F DV, S
10 A M DV, S
11 C F W, S
12 D F W, S
Age: Marital Status:
60-70 years of age (A) Sex: Single (S)
71-80 years of age (B) Female (F) Widowed (W)
81-90 years of age (C) Male (M) Divorced (DV)
91-100 years of age (D) Dating (DA)
• Primary result: courtship among seniors is not
generally for romantic satisfaction.
• Results from our primary
research are the same as our
• Every single senior we
interviewed strongly approved of
dating in their age group even if they
themselves chose not to date
• A large number were widowed
• There weren’t as many seniors
• Low external validity because we interviewed Good Companions members only
• Self-identification of senior citizenship
• Didn’t look at seniors who don’t socialize
• Widowhood was sensitive issues that we didn't get in-depth information on
• Observations were difficult because it was obvious we didn’t belong
• Project on dating but no specific dates actually observed.
• In conclusion seniors date for companionship over
• They date for the platonic socializing aspect rather
than the sexual or romantic aspect
• Our group made the comparison that seniors
dating were like teens dating: little
commitment, heavy social aspect
Bulcroft, K., & O'Connor, M. (1986). The Importance of Dating Relationships on
Quality of Life
for Older Persons. Family Relations, 35(3), 397-401.
Kaiser, Frank. “Few Prizes for Woman in Senior Dating Game”. St. Petersburg Times
2006, http://www.factiva.com (accessed February 3, 2009).
S.V. Subramanian, Felix, Elwert, Nicholas, Christakis “'Widowhood and Mortality
Elderly'. The Modify Role of Neighborhood Concentration of Widowed
www.csa.com (accessed January 20, 2009).
Wood, M. (2003). You Should Get Yourself a Boyfriend 'But' Let's Not Get Serious.
Research Reports in Communication, 4, 31-37.