Publications

Cohort Differences in Received Social Support in Later Life: The Role of Network Type

Objectives: The objective is to assess cohort differences in received emotional and instrumental support in relation to network types. The main guiding hypothesis is that due to increased salience of non-kin with recent social change, those in friend-focused and diverse network types receive more support in later birth cohorts than earlier birth cohorts.Method: Data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam are employed. We investigate cohort differences in total received emotional and instrumental support in a series of linear regression models comparing birth cohorts aged 55–64, 65–74, 75–84, and 85–94 across three time periods (1992, 2002, and 2012).Results: Four network types (friend, family, restricted, and diverse) are identified. Friend-focused networks are more common in later birth cohorts, restrictive networks less common. Those in friend-focused networks in later cohorts report receiving more emotional and instrumental support. No differences in received support are evident upon diverse networks.Discussion: The increased salience of non-kin is reflected in an increase in received emotional and instrumental support in friend-focused networks in later birth cohorts. The preponderance of non-kin in networks should not be perceived as a deficit model for social relationships as restrictive networks are declining across birth cohorts.