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Convoys of social support in Mexico: Examining socio-demographic variation

Heather R Fuller-Iglesias, Toni Antonucci
International Journal of Behavioral Development 2016, 40 (4): 324-333
27340310
The Convoy Model suggests that at different stages of the lifespan the makeup of the social support network varies in step with developmental and contextual needs. Cultural norms may shape the makeup of social convoys as well as denote socio-demographic differences in social support. This study examines the social convoys of adults in Mexico. Specifically, it examines whether social network structure varies by age, gender, and education level, thus addressing the paucity of research on interpersonal relations in Mexico. A sample of 1,202 adults (18-99 years of age) was drawn from the Study of Social Relations and Well-being in Mexico. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated older adults had larger, more geographically proximate networks with a greater proportion of kin but less frequent contact. Women had larger, less geographically proximate networks with less frequent contact. Less educated individuals had smaller, more geographically proximate networks with more frequent contact and a greater proportion of kin. Age moderated gender and education effects indicated that younger women have more diverse networks and less educated older adults have weaker social ties. This study highlights socio-demographic variation in social convoys within the Mexican context, and suggests implications for fostering intergenerational relationships, policy, and interventions. Future research on Mexican convoys should further explore sources of support, and specifically address implications for well-being.

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