Network type and mortality risk in later life

Howard Litwin*, Sharon Shiovitz-Ezra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the association of baseline network type and 7-year mortality risk in later life. Design and Methods: We executed secondary analysis of all-cause mortality in Israel using data from a 1997 national survey of adults aged 60 and older (N = 5,055) that was linked to records from the National Death Registry up to 2004. We considered six network types-diverse, friend focused, neighbor focused, family focused, community-clan, and restricted-in the analysis, controlling for population group, sociodemographic background, and health factors. We carried out Cox proportional hazards regressions for the entire sample and separately by age group at baseline: 60-69, 70-79, and 80 and older. Results: Network types were associated with mortality in the 70-79 and 80 and older age groups. Respondents located in diverse and friend-focused network types, and to a lesser degree those located in community-clan network types, had a lower risk of mortality compared to individuals belonging to restricted networks. Implications: Gerontological practitioners should address older adults' social networks in their assessments of clients. The parameters used to derive network types in this study can serve toward the development of practical network type inventories. Moreover, practitioners should tailor the interventions they implement to the different network types in which their elderly clients are embedded.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)735-743
Number of pages9
JournalThe Gerontologist
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Keywords

  • Friends
  • Israel
  • Risk
  • Social network
  • Survival

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