Diversity of strong and weak ties and loneliness in older adults

Jack Lam, Chiara Broccatelli, Janeen Baxter

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2 Citas (Scopus)

Resumen

This paper examines the relationship between characteristics of older adults' networks and loneliness. Drawing on a mixed-methods study with primary data from 165 surveys and a subset of 50 in-depth interviews from the broader sample, we examine whether and how strong and weak ties in an individual's network provide different forms of support in buffering loneliness. Regression models demonstrate that a higher frequency of contacts with strong ties, rather than the number of strong ties, is associated with lower levels of loneliness. In contrast, a greater number of weak ties is related to lower levels of loneliness. Our qualitative interview data shows that strong ties are susceptible to relationship loss, geographic distances, or relationship conflict. A greater number of weak ties, on the other hand, increases the likelihood of support and engagement when needed, reciprocity of relationships, and access to new social groups and networks. Previous research has focused on the complementary forms of support provided by strong and weak ties. Our study shows the different forms of support provided by strong and weak ties, underscoring the importance of a diverse social network for reducing loneliness. Our study also highlights the role of network changes in later life and social tie availability as important factors that contribute to understanding how social ties operate to combat loneliness.
Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo101097
PublicaciónJournal of Aging Studies
Volumen64
DOI
EstadoPublicada - mar 2023

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