Social Relations in Lebanon: Convoys Across the Life Course

Objectives: This study systematically analyzed convoys of social relations to investigate the ways in which gender and income shape patterns of social relations across the life course in Lebanon. Methods: Data were drawn from a representative sample of adults aged 18 and older in Greater Beirut, Lebanon (N = 500). Multiple linear regression and multilevel models were conducted to examine main and interactive effects of age, gender, and income on social relations. RESULTS: Findings indicate main effects of age, income, and gender on network structure and relationship quality. Older age was associated with larger network size, greater proportion of kin in network, higher positive and lower negative relationship quality. Higher income was associated with larger network size and decreased contact frequency. Female gender was also associated with decreased contact frequency. Gender interacted with income to influence network size and network composition. Higher income was associated with a larger network size and higher proportion of kin for women. Discussion: Findings suggest diversity in the experience of social relations. Such nuance is particularly relevant to the Lebanese context where family is the main source of support in old age. Policy makers and program planners may need to refrain from viewing social relations simplistically.