The Strength of Strong Ties for Older Adults: Informal Social Integration, Subjective Well-Being, and Regional Similaritie...
Theorizing Social Ties <ul><li>Variation in social interaction across populations and regions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural...
The Elderly <ul><li>Throughout the 1980s - rural areas saw a significant increase in older individuals. </li></ul><ul><li>...
Social Ties and Rural Elderly <ul><li>Previous research highlights the positive role that social interaction in elderly we...
Hypotheses H1. Rural individuals will have higher levels of SWB compared to residents in urban or suburban areas. H2. Indi...
Data and Methods <ul><li>The data for this research come from Wave III of the Americans Changing Lives (ACL) study (1994)....
Data and Methods (cont) <ul><li>Dependent Variable : A summed scale of responses to five questions forms our measure of SW...
Data and Methods (cont) <ul><li>Control Variables:  </li></ul><ul><li>Income - particularly the benefits of a higher incom...
Results <ul><li>Descriptive Statistics: </li></ul><ul><li>The median well-being score was 18 which indicates that responde...
Results (cont) <ul><li>Multivariate: </li></ul><ul><li>Significant difference between suburban and rural residents’ SWB; h...
Results (cont) <ul><li>Multivariate: </li></ul><ul><li>When considering socio-demographic characteristics, there is a sign...
Hypotheses H1. Rural individuals will have higher levels of SWB compared to residents in urban or suburban areas. H2. Indi...
Discussion and Conclusions <ul><li>H1 and H2 receive no support – H3 receives support </li></ul><ul><li>Informal social ti...
Discussion and Conclusions 4. Policy Implications –  5. Limitations – 6. Next steps in this project…….
The Strength of Strong Ties for Older Adults: Informal Social Integration, Subjective Well-Being, and Regional Similaritie...
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2007 Southern Soc. Society - "The Strength of Strong Ties for Older Adults: Informal Social Integration, Subjective Well-Being, and Regional Similarities"

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  • 2007 Southern Soc. Society - "The Strength of Strong Ties for Older Adults: Informal Social Integration, Subjective Well-Being, and Regional Similarities"

    1. 1. The Strength of Strong Ties for Older Adults: Informal Social Integration, Subjective Well-Being, and Regional Similarities Christine Armstrong [email_address] & R.V. Thivierge-Rikard [email_address] Department of Sociology & Anthropology North Carolina State University Presented at the 2007 meeting of the Southern Sociological Society, Atlanta, GA.
    2. 2. Theorizing Social Ties <ul><li>Variation in social interaction across populations and regions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural communities: strong/informal/intimately bonding ties or Gemeinschaft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Urban communities: weak/formal/bridging ties or Gesellschaft </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. The Elderly <ul><li>Throughout the 1980s - rural areas saw a significant increase in older individuals. </li></ul><ul><li>As many as 650,000 individuals over the age of 50 migrated into rural areas from 1980 to 1990. </li></ul><ul><li>From 2000 to 2004, US Census data indicate that the urban elderly population increased by four percent while rural elderly population grew by a little over two percent (USDA 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the recent increase in urban elderly, individuals over the age of 65 comprise 15 percent of the rural population and 11.7 percent of the urban. </li></ul><ul><li>Overall, the US Census predicts that the general elderly population will increase by over 430 percent from 2000 to 2050, compared to an overall population increase of a little less than 50 percent </li></ul>
    4. 4. Social Ties and Rural Elderly <ul><li>Previous research highlights the positive role that social interaction in elderly well-being. </li></ul><ul><li>Subjective well-being (SWB) : reflects a combination of social, physical, and psychological conditions (Ellison 1990; Fry 2000; Landau and Litwin 2001; Lever et al. 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>But what remains unclear the relationship between informal and formal social ties and elderly SWB. </li></ul><ul><li>Question: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What impact do space (rural, urban, or suburban) and social interactions (Gemeinscheft/informal/strong vs. Gesellschaft/formal/weak) have upon the SWB of elderly individuals? </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Hypotheses H1. Rural individuals will have higher levels of SWB compared to residents in urban or suburban areas. H2. Individuals who live in rural areas will have higher levels of informal social integration than residents in suburban and urban areas. H3. Informal social integration will be associated with higher levels of SWB for the sample of people ages 60 and up.
    6. 6. Data and Methods <ul><li>The data for this research come from Wave III of the Americans Changing Lives (ACL) study (1994). </li></ul><ul><li>In Wave III, all the respondents from Waves I and II were re-contacted, resulting in a total sample of 3,617. </li></ul><ul><li>Limit our analyses to respondents 60 years of age or older. </li></ul><ul><li>The analytic sample is 1,046 with 354 respondents indicating rural, 324 urban, and 368 suburban residences. </li></ul><ul><li>Series of nested OLS regression models. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Data and Methods (cont) <ul><li>Dependent Variable : A summed scale of responses to five questions forms our measure of SWB. Responses are summed with higher scores indicating a higher level of SWB. </li></ul><ul><li>Independent Variables: </li></ul><ul><li>Region of residence - Three dichotomous (0, 1) indicators of residential location: Urban, Suburban, with Rural as the baseline. </li></ul><ul><li>Formal social integration: “how often do you attend meetings or programs of groups, clubs, or organizations that you belong to?” </li></ul><ul><li>Informal social integration: “how often do you get together with friends, neighbors, or relatives?” </li></ul>
    8. 8. Data and Methods (cont) <ul><li>Control Variables: </li></ul><ul><li>Income - particularly the benefits of a higher income levels </li></ul><ul><li>Marital status (1=Married, 0=Not Married) </li></ul><ul><li>Age of the respondent – (Two scenarios) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing age, increased reliance on family for ADLs, increased informal interaction. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, as age increases the respondent may have fewer informal social ties. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Race (1=White, 0=Non-white) </li></ul><ul><li>Sex (1=Male, 0=Female) </li></ul><ul><li>Health Status: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Life threatening chronic conditions (1=Yes, 0=No) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debilitating chronic conditions (1=Yes, 0=No) </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Results <ul><li>Descriptive Statistics: </li></ul><ul><li>The median well-being score was 18 which indicates that respondent’s average SWB score (17) was below the mid-point. </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents were drawn almost equally from rural, suburban, and urban residential areas </li></ul><ul><li>On average respondent’s informally got together with friends and participated in formal interaction approximately two or three times a month. </li></ul><ul><li>In terms of the demographic characteristics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approximately half of the sample was married </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average income of $24,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average age of 72 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The majority of respondents were white, female, and suffered from a debilitating chronic condition. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Results (cont) <ul><li>Multivariate: </li></ul><ul><li>Significant difference between suburban and rural residents’ SWB; however, there is no significant difference between rural and urban respondent’s level of SWB (see Model 1) </li></ul><ul><li>Informal social ties, not formal social ties, are significant in Model 2. </li></ul><ul><li>Income is associated with SWB in only Model 3. </li></ul><ul><li>Married individuals were associated with higher levels of SWB in Model 4 and 5. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Results (cont) <ul><li>Multivariate: </li></ul><ul><li>When considering socio-demographic characteristics, there is a significant difference between urban and rural residence. </li></ul><ul><li>Across all models – informal social integration has a statistically significant effect on SWB, net of geography, socio-demographic characteristics, and health status. </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction terms – given the significant effect of informal social ties and urban residence: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Four Social Spatial Interaction terms: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a. Only Urban Informal Ties is significant and negative compared to Rural Informal Ties. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Hypotheses H1. Rural individuals will have higher levels of SWB compared to residents in urban or suburban areas. H2. Individuals who live in rural areas will have higher levels of informal social integration than residents in suburban and urban areas. H3. Informal social integration will be associated with higher levels of SWB for the sample of people ages 60 and up.
    13. 13. Discussion and Conclusions <ul><li>H1 and H2 receive no support – H3 receives support </li></ul><ul><li>Informal social ties matter for all elderly in this sample. </li></ul><ul><li>Strength of Strong Ties: while status attainment literature stresses the importance of weak ties in gaining access to resources, this study suggests that the strength of strong ties has direct implications on the SWB of aging adults. </li></ul><ul><li>Social Spatial Interaction – informal support has a different meaning in rural vs. urban areas. Informal social ties have a greater meaning in terms of SWB in rural vs. urban areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Highlights 2 points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Importance of Informal Strong Ties ( Gemeinschaft) on SWB </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The importance of these ties on the SWB of elderly rural residents </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Discussion and Conclusions 4. Policy Implications – 5. Limitations – 6. Next steps in this project…….
    15. 15. The Strength of Strong Ties for Older Adults: Informal Social Integration, Subjective Well-Being, and Regional Similarities Christine Armstrong [email_address] & R.V. Thivierge-Rikard [email_address] Department of Sociology & Anthropology North Carolina State University Presented at the 2007 meeting of the Southern Sociological Society, Atlanta, GA.

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