Women Caring for Retired Men: A Continuation of Inequality in the Sport Marriage

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Drawing from longitudinal qualitative research on the heteronormative sport marriage that primarily featured interviews with women married to male professional athletes, this article focuses on how women were affected by and managed their retired husbands’ physical and mental–emotional health issues. It explores the women’s continued use of self-management strategies they developed during their husband’s career as they offered increasingly challenging care work to their husbands and examines how long-held expectations about their caregiver role continued to contribute to post-career gender inequality in their marriages. It captures the women’s voices as they discovered that they were not sufficiently prepared for the emerging personal and relational complexities that emerged in retirement.

Ortiz (sortiz@oregonstate.edu) is with the Sociology Program, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.

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