The Configurations of Social Network Members and Social Support in Old Age

Juyeon Kim, NORC at the University of Chicago

This study examined:(1)the effects of being embedded in one of the six types of network member composition on older adults’ perceived support and strain;(2)the effects of changes in network size in explaining these relationships. This study used two waves (2005 and 2010) of panel data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP). Results show that respondents embedded in the children only or the spouse only network perceived lower level of support and strains, and the kin-children network showed the highest. Increased size was positively associated with perceived social support and negatively with strain in 2010. Respondents embedded in the children only and the spouse only networks were more likely to undergo changes and experienced increased size and higher level of perceived social support. Older adults in scarce resource networks appear to improve their resources (e.g. social supports) by adding the number of potential supporters in their networks.

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Presented in Session 159: Social Networks, Social Capital, and Aging