Deborah van den Hoonaard

Professor Emerita, St Thomas University

Widowhood, women and aging, retirement, ageism, older population in Canada


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Deborah van den Hoonaard is a sociologist and professor emerita at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, NB, Canada. Former Canada Research Chair in Qualitative Research and Analysis, she directed the Atlantic Centre for Qualitative Research and Analysis from 2006-2015. She is the Social-Science Editor of the Canadian Journal on Aging. Her research focuses on the transitions people experience as they age, particularly women’s and men’s experiences of widowhood and baby-boomer women’s entry into retirement. Van den Hoonaard is the author of Qualitative Research in Action: A Canadian Primer (2012, 2015 Oxford University Press), By Himself, The Older Man’s Experience of Widowhood (2010, University of Toronto Press), and The Widowed Self: The Older Woman's Journey through Widowhood, published in 2001 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. She regularly talks to community groups and the media about her research. In partnership with her husband, she has studied the experiences of Iranian Bahá’í refugees in Atlantic Canada. Together, they have authored The Equality of Women and Men: The Experience of the Bahá’í Community of Canada, which was published in 2006 and Essentials of Thinking Ethically in Qualitative Research (Left Coast Press, 2013).


  • Widowhood
  • Women and aging
  • Retirement
  • Ageism
  • Older population in Canada