Widowhood and illness: A comparison of social network characteristics in France, Germany, Japan, and the United States
T. C. Antonucci, J. E. Lansford, L. Schaberg, J. Smith, H. Akiyama, R. Fuhrer, & J.-F. Dartigues (2001)
Psychology and Aging, 16, 655-665
This study examined social network characteristics of adults aged 70 to 90 years in relation to widowhood and illness in France, Germany, Japan, and the United States. Participants were drawn from representative samples from each of the 4 countries (total N = 1,331). Resource deficit profiles based on whether respondents were widowed, ill, both, or neither were directly related to social network characteristics for German and Japanese adults, were differentially related by gender and age for French adults, and were not related to social networks of Americans. Country, gender, and age differences in total network size, proportion of close network members, and frequency of contact with network members are reported. Similarities and differences found in the associations between normative late-life deficits and social network characteristics in the 4 countries point to the importance of investigating sociocultural factors that mediate the impact of resource loss and afford life quality in very old age.