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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. This study examines global social Mature friends seattle friendship, support, and acquaintance networks—of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender LGBT older adults. Utilizing data from a large community-based study, we employ multiple regression analyses to examine correlates of social network size and diversity. Controlling for background characteristics, network size was positively associated with being female, transgender identity, employment, higher income, having a partner oridentity disclosure to a neighbor, engagement in religious activities, and service use.
Controlling in addition for network size, network diversity was positively associated with younger age, being female, transgender identity, identity disclosure to a friend, religious activity, and service use. According to social capital theory, social networks provide a vehicle for social resources that can be beneficial for successful aging and well-being.
This study is a first step at understanding the correlates of social network size and diversity among Mature friends seattle older adults. Understanding social networks is essential for gerontological research. Among LGB older adults, increased social network size has been found to be inversely related to poor general health, disability, and depression Fredriksen-Goldsen et al.
Furthermore, social network size appears to attenuate the relationship between internalized stigma and poor general health in these populations Fredriksen-Goldsen et al. Social networks, in a broad sense, are relationships with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, members of a community, acquaintances, and even members in online networking sites.
Depending on the type of relationships, social networks have been conceptualized in different ways. Most of the aging literature focuses on support networks and their association with health outcomes among older adults van Tilburg, However, it has been suggested that acquaintance ties are also important, especially for diffusion of influence and information within communities Granovetter, Neighborhood contacts were shown to have important positive influences on social support as well as on changes in social support over time for British older adults Gray, A recent meta-analysis of changes in social networks across the life span showed that peripheral relationships such as those at community organizations, church, or in the neighborhood might be most important at older ages when one is going through specific life events such as retirement Wrzus et al.
Social network research distinguishes between sociocentric network data—data that contain all relationships between the people within a well-defined Mature friends seattle such as a village—and egocentric personal network data. Collecting network data on acquaintances, however, precludes obtaining detailed information on alters due to the higher and nature of these ties. Social networks can be incorporated in a variety of theoretical frameworks, including social capital theory. The concept of social capital involves a notion of social relations i. Social capital can be defined as a function of social structure—a system of social relations—producing advantage for individuals who are within that structure Coleman, Social ties—with kin, partners, adult children, friends, neighbors, or with fellow members of organizations—constitute social capital of older adults that can give them access to social, emotional, and practical support Gray, This article examines Mature friends seattle characteristics of social networks: social network size and diversity.
Social network researchers describe bridging as one of Mature friends seattle network positions that tend to be associated with power, importance, and independence Kolaczyk, Working within health and life-course frameworks, Cornwell identified the need to study network bridging potential in older adults as providing a different perspective on social networks than the traditional focus on social support. Cornwellp.
In the absence of direct measures of bridging, social network diversity can be considered as an indicator of network bridging potential according to social capital theory Putnam, Social network size diminishes with aging in the general population Cornwell et al. African American and Hispanic older adults were found to have smaller networks compared to Whites Cornwell et al. studies consistently find that, among older adults, women have larger social networks than men Cicirelli, ; Cornwell et al.
However, one recent population-based study found that those who are retired tend to have larger social networks among older adults Cornwell et al. Erickson found higher income levels correlate with network diversity. Few studies have examined network characteristics of LGBT older adults. Another study documented that transgender older adults have larger social networks compared to nontransgender LGB older adults Fredriksen-Goldsen, Cook-Daniels et al.
Little is known regarding diversity of social networks in LGBT older adults. There has been a of studies that examined relationships between family and community involvement and social networks in the general population. In contrast, there are no systematic studies examining family and community involvement as correlates of network size and diversity for LGBT older adults. LGBT older adults are Mature friends seattle likely to be married or partnered than non-LGBT older adults, perhaps in part due to the prohibition of same-sex marriage Butler, ; Fredriksen-Goldsen et al.
A unique feature in the lives of LGBT adults is identity disclosure to others in their everyday life. Current cohorts of LGBT older adults have experienced social marginalization through their life due to discriminatory social contexts Fredriksen-Goldsen, According to Meyerdisclosing sexual identity may help LGB individuals build relationships with other sexual minority individuals although concealment of their sexual or gender identity seems to play a protective function in terms of reducing the of discrimination and victimization events over their lifetime.
The expression of sexual or gender identity is not only verbal but also behavioral; thus, the fear of being disclosed may lead to limiting social relationship, manifesting in smaller and less diverse acquaintance contacts. The goal of this article is to examine correlates of network size and network diversity using egocentric group-specific network data on social acquaintances from CAP Study, — Fredriksen-Goldsen et al.
Based on social capital theory, we will test the following hypotheses:. Hypothesis 1: Background characteristics being gay or lesbian, female, younger age, non-Hispanic White, having higher income and education, being employed and having fewer chronic conditionsfamily relations having a partner Mature friends seattle spouse and childidentity disclosure to best friends and neighborsparticipation in religious activities, and service utilization will be positively associated with greater social network size.
Hypothesis 2: Background characteristics being gay or lesbian, female, younger age, non-Hispanic White, having higher income and education, being employed and having fewer chronic conditionsfamily relations having a partner or spouse and childidentity disclosure to best friends and neighborsparticipation in religious activities, and service utilization will be positively associated with greater social network diversity.
Mature friends seattle study was conducted through a collaboration with 11 community agencies from different regions of the United States, including some agencies that were LGBT specific and some that were serving older adults in general.
Over a 6-month period from June to Novemberthe agencies utilized their contact lists of older adults, aged 50 and above, to distribute invitation letters and paper questionnaires. The lists included people who have been in contact with the agencies and for whom contact information was available. For agencies with electronic mailing lists, a similar Internet-based survey was used.
In addition, all follow-up reminders included an Internet-based survey option. Overall, 2, paper and Internet-based questionnaires were submitted and satisfied eligibility criteria LGBT adults 50 years of age and older. The questionnaire collected information on Mature friends seattle characteristics, quality of life, physical and mental health, issues of receiving and providing care, and other risk and protective factors and life events. Detailed information regarding the data collection procedures is described elsewhere Fredriksen-Goldsen et al.
The study asked about social acquaintances inside and outside the LGBT communities, including relationships with friends, colleagues, family members, and neighbors as reported by the respondent. The social network measurement component of the questionnaire was limited in scope due to the potential for overall respondent burden. Note that we decided not to ask separate questions for every possible combination of sexual and gender identity because of substantial additional cognitive complexity that the expanded data collection instrument would have created.
We develop a modified summation index to estimate the network size Mature friends seattle LGBT individuals. The modified summation index uses groups defined by sexual identity, gender identity, and age because Mature friends seattle groups reflect the basic composition of the Mature friends seattle of interest better than typical relational. It has been shown that the summation method yields a valid and reliable proxy for the actual network size McCarty et al.
In the context of this article, for the purposes of concise exposition, we will refer to transgender adults as T, and to nontransgender lesbian, nontransgender gay men, and nontransgender bisexual groups as simply L, G, and B, respectively. We measure network diversity by counting the of sexual identity and gender identity groups L, G, B, or T for which respondents reported nonzero networks from 0 to 5.
Sexual identity was measured by asking participants to self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual or straight, and other. Female participants who identified themselves as gay were recoded as lesbian.
We use the of chronic conditions reported from 0 to 10 as an indicator of chronic health problems. The service utilization indicator 0 or 1 measures whether the respondent was a current user of programs or services for LGBT older adults. We begin with a descriptive analysis of the social networks size and diversity.
We then apply a series of multiple regression analyses to examine correlates of log-network size and network diversity among LGBT Mature friends seattle adults. These cases Mature friends seattle excluded from all analyses reported in this article.
In addition, observations had missing values on covariates. Finally, 18 cases with zero social network sizes were removed from multiple regression analyses as the mechanisms related to the absence of network ties might be qualitatively different from mechanisms related to changes in magnitude of the social network ties. This provided us with a sample size of 1, for the regression analyses. Correlations among all variables were examined to avoid multicollinearity issues.
Thus, we used both of these measures in regression. To satisfy the assumptions of homoscedasticity and normality of residuals Weisberg,we employed the logarithm transformation of the social network size variable. For the diversity variable, which is a count from 0 to 5, we employed two approaches: the ordinal logistic regression model Agresti, and the linear regression e. The ordinal logistic regression is more appropriate for ordered discrete outcomes than the linear regression that assumes linearity.
However, in both analyses, the identified ificant predictors and the directions of associations were the same. Because our focus is on identifying ificant associations, we present from the linear multiple regression analyses mentioned subsequently.
Network information was available for 1, individuals, of whom there were lesbian nontransgender women, gay nontransgender men, 94 Mature friends seattle nontransgender men and women, and transgender men and women. The mean total network size was estimated to be Some respondents explained that high s of individuals in their acquaintance networks were due to their occupations e. Table 1 provides the descriptive statistics for the total network size by sexual and gender identity.
Figure 2 provides the corresponding histograms of social network size, where the reported s of ties that were larger than the 95th percentile network size of or larger are not shown. The distributions of network size look fairly similar across groups.
The mean network diversity was estimated to be 3.
Figure 2 also summarizes network diversity by sexual and gender identity of the respondent. For both gay male and lesbian older adults, the modal diversity was 3, indicating that more of these individuals reported social ties to three different sexual identity and gender identity groups among L, G, B, or T than to any other of groups. Transgender and bisexual individuals had greater diversity than gay and lesbian individuals, and their modal network diversity values were 5 and 4, respectively. Table 2 provides the of respondents egos who reported social ties to individuals alters in the row L, G, B, T, or heterosexual.
For example, of lesbian respondents, reported that they have social ties to gay male individuals. The transgender participants showed the most even distribution of social ties across the four Mature friends seattle and gender identity groups, while lesbian and gay male older adults showed the most affinity toward groups of similar sexual and gender identity. Note that Table 2 only provides a two-dimensional view on the reported social ties. Examination of the Mature friends seattle multivariate distribution of social ties across gender and sexual identity is beyond the scope of this article Morris, We performed multiple regression analyses for two outcome variables: the log-network size and the network diversity index.
Subsequently, we report for cases with complete covariate information: lesbian nontransgender women, gay nontransgender men, 63 nontransgender bisexual men and women, and transgender men and women. The identified ificant predictors and the directions of association were the same in the multiple imputation analysis as those reported here. First, we used regression analyses to examine the relationship of social network size with sexual and gender identity, age-group, and gender.
There were individuals between 50 and 64 years of age, —between 65 and 79, and —80 or older. Mature friends seattle then used multiple regression analyses to examine associations between log-network size and diversity index of social networks and background characteristics, family relations, identity disclosure, and community involvement. We considered including the survey mode—article or Internet—as an additional covariate but did not find ificant mode effects net of other covariates.
Of family relations, both having a partner or spouse and having had ificant positive influence on social network size. Of identity disclosure factors, controlling for other covariates, being out to neighbor was positively associated with social network size, whereas being out to best friends was not. Religious activity and service utilization were also positively associated with social network size.Mature friends seattle
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