Journal Article

Convoys of Social Relations in Cross-National Context

Kristine J Ajrouch, Heather R Fuller, Hiroko Akiyama and Toni C Antonucci

in The Gerontologist

Published on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America

Volume 58, issue 3, pages 488-499
Published in print May 2018 | ISSN: 0016-9013
Published online January 2017 | e-ISSN: 1758-5341 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnw204
Convoys of Social Relations in Cross-National Context

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  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Biological Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Care of the Elderly
  • Gerontology and Ageing

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Abstract

Purpose of the Study

This study examines national variations in social networks among older adults across 4 countries in diverse regions of the world: Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, and the United States. The aim is to provide insights into universal as well as unique attributes of social networks in later life.

Design and Methods

The analyses examine convoy characteristics among adults aged 50+ in metropolitan areas of Japan (N = 557), Lebanon (N = 284), Mexico (N = 556), and the United States (N = 583). Data were collected using the hierarchical mapping technique on representative samples in each locale. Multilevel models were conducted by nation to examine whether convoy characteristics vary by age and closeness.

Results

Network size and geographic proximity were dimensions of social networks sensitive to national context. By contrast, how age and feelings of closeness varied with contact frequency and the presence of children in networks revealed universal patterns. Furthermore, feelings of closeness varied by age with regard to size and contact frequency in Lebanon, proximity in Japan, and composition in Mexico.

Implications

Identifying universal and unique characteristics of social networks in later life provide a preliminary empirical basis upon which to advance a global perspective on convoys of social relations and how they inform policies that can facilitate health and well-being among middle-aged and older people around the world.

Keywords: Closeness; Convoy model; Social networks; International; Aging

Journal Article.  8344 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Geriatric Medicine ; Biological Sciences ; Psychology ; Care of the Elderly ; Gerontology and Ageing

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