Age differences in the effects of network composition on psychological distress.
The main goal of this research is to better understand age differences in the effects of social networks on mental health. Using a social network approach to revise the convoy of social support model (Kahn and Antonucci, 1980), we examine specifically how two aspects of social support networks (kin composition and convoy dimensions) influence psychological distress for older and younger samples (18-59 and 60+). We hypothesize that kin composition will influence distress in general but especially for the younger sample, while two competing hypotheses for the convoy of social support model are tested. Using data from a three-wave panel health study, structural equation models (LISREL 8.20) indicate that a greater proportion of kin in the perceived support network and the presence of family members in the inner circle of the convoy significantly reduce distress, primarily for the younger sample. Implications for the convoy model are discussed.
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