Social networks, health, and emotional well-being among the oldest old in London

A Bowling, P D Browne
Journal of Gerontology 1991, 46 (1): S20-32
A survey of the health and social circumstances of 662 people aged 85 and over, living at home in inner London, was conducted in 1987. A primary aim was to analyze the structure of social support networks of the sample in relation to respondents' emotional well-being and met and unmet needs for practical help. The conceptual and methodological framework that was applied to the study was derived from the theory of social networks. In confirmation of the common assumption that people aged 85+ are different from younger elderly people, as they are the "survivors," high levels of social support and informal help were given to most respondents. Although associations were found between social network variables and the provision of informal help, multifactorial analysis showed that health status explained more of the variation in emotional well-being.

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