Structural Predictors of Problematic Friendships in Later Life.

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 )
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Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the constraining and facilitating effects of social structural position (age, sex, race, class, financial sufficiency, and number of friends) on opportunities for friendship. We hypothesized that the greater the number of people who share a given social structural location and the more access they have to situations where it is possible to meet new people, the less likely they are to have problematic friendships. The sample comprised 53 male and female community residents aged 55 to 84 years who enjoyed fairly good health. Logistic and multiple regression procedures revealed outcomes opposite to our predictions: those who were supposedly more social structurally advantaged actually reported greater numbers of problematic friendships. Potential interpretations include the possibility that these people are more critical than others of their friend relationships or more willing to acknowledge problems, that the norms regarding commitment to friends are weaker among these individuals, or that they learn to acquire friends but not to avoid and solve problems in their relationships. Apparently, people with more friends are not more likely than others to terminate problematic friendships or to redefine them as mere associations.

Additional Information

Personal Relationships, 5: 439-437
Language: English
Date: 1998
Social structural position, Friendship, Elderly

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