Stability and change in older adults' social contact and social support: The Cardiovascular Health Study

Lynn M. Martire, Richard Schulz, Maurice B. Mittelmark, Jason T. Newsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. The aim of this study was to examine the degree of individual change in structural indicators of social support (family network contact and close friend network contact) and functional indicators of social support (belonging, appraisal, and tangible support) during late life. Methods. Using a large population-based sample of older adults, hierarchical linear modeling was applied to examine the extent of change in social contact and support as well as sociodemographic characteristics (age, race, gender, and education) that might explain individual variability in contact and support at baseline and over time. Results. Consistent with predictions, small yet significant increases were observed in belonging support and tangible support. Contrary to predictions, no evidence was found for significant individual change in family network contact, close friend network contact, or appraisal support. Sociodemographic characteristics were more consistent predictors of variability in contact and support at baseline than variability over time. Discussion. The findings of this study add to a growing literature suggesting that late life is not typically characterized by a decline in important social resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S302-S311
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume54
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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