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Social network type and health-related behaviors: Evidence from an American national survey


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  • Shiovitz-Ezra, Sharon
  • Litwin, Howard
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    This study examined the association between social network type and engagement in physical activity, alcohol abuse and use of complementary and alternative medicine by older Americans. Data from the National Social Life, Health & Aging Project were employed. Multivariate logistic regressions conducted separately for each health behavior showed that older people embedded in less resourceful network types were at greater risk for alcohol abuse, physical inactivity and less use of complementary and alternative medicine, net of the effects of sociodemographic characteristics, health, and the quality of the social relationships. The study underscores the importance of the construct of social network type for understanding healthy lifestyle in late life.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 901-904

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:5:p:901-904

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    Keywords: Network type; Loneliness; Alcohol abuse; Physical activity; Complementary and alternative medicine; U.S.A;


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    1. Due, Pernille & Holstein, Bjørn & Lund, Rikke & Modvig, Jens & Avlund, Kirsten, 1999. "Social relations: network, support and relational strain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 661-673, March.
    2. Sheung-Tak Cheng & Coty K. L. Lee & Alfred C. M. Chan & Edward M. F. Leung & Jik-Joen Lee, 2009. "Social Network Types and Subjective Well-being in Chinese Older Adults," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 64(6), pages 713-722.
    3. Colm O'Muircheartaigh & Stephanie Eckman & Stephen Smith, 2009. "Statistical Design and Estimation for the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 64(suppl_1), pages i12-i19.
    4. Stephen Smith & Angela Jaszczak & Jessica Graber & Katie Lundeen & Sara Leitsch & Erin Wargo & Colm O'Muircheartaigh, 2009. "Instrument Development, Study Design Implementation, and Survey Conduct for the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 64(suppl_1), pages i20-i29.
    5. Berkman, Lisa F. & Glass, Thomas & Brissette, Ian & Seeman, Teresa E., 2000. "From social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 843-857, September.
    6. Katherine L. Fiori & Jacqui Smith & Toni C. Antonucci, 2007. "Social Network Types Among Older Adults: A Multidimensional Approach," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 62(6), pages P322-P330.
    7. Katherine L. Fiori & Toni C. Antonucci & Kai S. Cortina, 2006. "Social Network Typologies and Mental Health Among Older Adults," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 61(1), pages P25-P32.
    8. Umberson, Debra, 1992. "Gender, marital status and the social control of health behavior," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 907-917, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Van Cauwenberg, Jelle & De Donder, Liesbeth & Clarys, Peter & De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse & Buffel, Tine & De Witte, Nico & Dury, Sarah & Verté, Dominique & Deforche, Benedicte, 2014. "Relationships between the perceived neighborhood social environment and walking for transportation among older adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 23-30.


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