Life course influences on women’s social relationships at midlife

Nadine F. Marks and Kristy Ashleman

in A Life Course Approach to Women's Health

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780192632890
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191723629 | DOI:

Series: Life Course Approach to Adult Health

Life course influences on women’s social relationships at midlife

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This chapter reviews evidence documenting how the structure and quality of women's social relationships change from childhood to middle adulthood; considering how biological, psychological, and social factors uniquely, cumulatively, and interactively influence the quantity and quality of women's social relationships over time, which might, in turn, be expected to influence women's health. Several types of relationships are considered—with mothers, with fathers, with siblings, with partners, with children, and with friends. The relative importance of early life course factors for helping to determine later life relationships and relationship quality is examined. Wherever possible, life course differences between women and men, and differences between persons of varying socioeconomic status (SES) are addressed. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future research and implications for policy.

Keywords: women's health; social life; women's relationships; social relationships; mothers; fathers; siblings; children; socioeconomic status

Chapter.  13181 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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