Satisfaction with social networks: An examination of socioemotional selectivity theory across cohorts

Journal Article

This study examines L. L. Carstensen's (1993, 1995) socioemotional selectivity theory within and across three cohorts spanning 4 decades. Socioemotional selectivity theory predicts that as individuals age, they narrow their social networks to devote more emotional resources to fewer relationships with close friends and family. Data from 3 cohorts of nationally representative samples were analyzed to determine whether respondents' satisfaction with the size of their social networks differed by age, cohort, or both. Results support socioemotional selectivity theory: More older adults than younger adults were satisfied with the current size of their social networks rather than wanting larger networks. These findings are consistent across all cohorts. Results are discussed with respect to social relationships across the life course.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lansford, JE; Sherman, AM; Antonucci, TC

Published Date

  • January 1, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 544 - 552

PubMed ID

  • 9883455

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0882-7974

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0882-7974.13.4.544