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Social exclusion of older persons: a scoping review and conceptual framework

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Thomas Scharf



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


As a concept, social exclusion has considerable potential to explain and respond to disadvantage in later life. However, in the context of ageing populations the construct remains ambiguous. A disjointed evidence-base, spread across disparate disciplines, compounds the challenge of developing a coherent understanding of exclusion in older age. This article addresses this research deficit by presenting the findings of a two-stage scoping review encompassing seven separate reviews of the international literature pertaining to old-age social exclusion. Stage one involved a review of conceptual frameworks on old-age exclusion, identifying conceptual understandings and key domains of later-life exclusion. Stage two involved scoping reviews on each domain (six in all). Stage one identified six conceptual frameworks on old-age exclusion and six common domains across these frameworks: neighbourhood and community; services, amenities and mobility; social relations; material and financial resources; socio-cultural aspects; and civic participation. International literature concentrated on the first four domains, but indicated a general lack of research knowledge and of theoretical development. Drawing on all seven scoping reviews and a knowledge synthesis, the article presents a new definition and conceptual framework relating to old-age exclusion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Walsh K, Scharf T, Keating N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Ageing

Year: 2017

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Pages: 81-98

Print publication date: 01/03/2017

Online publication date: 11/10/2016

Acceptance date: 01/09/2016

Date deposited: 08/09/2016

ISSN (print): 1613-9372

ISSN (electronic): 1613-9380

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s10433-016-0398-8


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