Factors Underlying the Structure of Older Adult Friendship Networks.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebecca G. Adams, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: This paper examines the structure of older adult friendship networks and how the immediate social environment in which they are embedded shapes them. Data were a probability sample (N = 65) of the residents of Greensboro, North Carolina, aged 55 years or older, living in noninstitutional settings. Four of six bivariate hypotheses regarding the relationships between measures of homogeneity, internal hierarchy, and solidarity derived from the friendship literature were confirmed, but none of the 10 hypotheses based on findings from the organizational literature was. We used factor analyses to examine the dimensions underlying these network characteristics and cluster analysis to identify patterns of relationships among these dimensions. The three factors underlying networks structure—egalitarianism, sociability, and religiosity—shaped the friendships of the respondents and reflected the culture and social structure of the context in which this study took place. Although all elderly in this study were generally subject to the same cultural and social structural forces, slightly different components affected the outsiders, low status insiders, and high status insiders and thus they had different patterns of friendship networks factors.

Additional Information

Social Networks 20: 51-61.
Language: English
Date: 1998
Elderly, Friendship, Relationship,

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