Political activism and wellbeing among older adults in Israel

Sarit Okun, Liat Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objectives: The aging process is characterized by encountering challenging situations and losses that may influence the subjective wellbeing of older adults. This study investigates the influence of the political-social crisis that unfolded in Israel in 2023 on the wellbeing of senior citizens. Additionally, it explores whether their participation in protests has contributed to their wellbeing. Research Design and Methods: We conducted interviews with 30 older adults who were actively engaged in the protest movement against the judicial overhaul. Our sampling approach was designed to encompass a diverse range of factors, including various age groups beyond 65 years, prior involvement in protest activities, geographical distribution, religious involvement, professional backgrounds, and differing political viewpoints. Results: Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed three key findings: (1) The participants reported feeling fear and anxiety due to the conflict, leading to a decrease in their wellbeing. (2) Participating in protests uplifted their spirits and provided social support, resulting in improved emotional and social wellbeing. (3) When asked about their perception of the crisis in the future, the participants expressed mixed views: Some were cautiously optimistic and others profoundly pessimistic, while the sentiments of some participants fluctuated. Discussion and Implications: This qualitative study indicates the negative impact of political-social crisis on older adults’ wellbeing, as well as the limited contribution of political activism to its improvement. Equally important, the research highlights the need for stakeholders in aging and gerontology to prioritize promoting older adults’ mental health regularly and during political crises.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging and Mental Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Activism
  • ageism
  • older adults
  • politics
  • wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Psychiatric Mental Health

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