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A support network typology for application in older populations with a preponderance of multigenerational households
Ageing and Society, Volume: 34, Issue: 7, Pages: 1 - 28
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This paper considers the support networks of older people in populations with a preponderance of multigenerational households and examines the most vulnerable network types in terms of loneliness and isolation. Current common typologies of support networks may not be sensitive to differences within...
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This paper considers the support networks of older people in populations with a preponderance of multigenerational households and examines the most vulnerable network types in terms of loneliness and isolation. Current common typologies of support networks may not be sensitive to differences within and between different cultures. This paper uses cross-sectional data drawn from 590 elders (Gujaratis, Punjabis and Sylhetis) living in the United Kingdom and South Asia. Six variables were used in K-means cluster analysis to establish a new network typology. Two logistic regression models using loneliness and isolation as dependent variables assessed the contribution of the new network type to well-being. Four support networks were identified: ‘Multigenerational Households: Older Integrated Networks’, ‘Multigenerational Households: Younger Family Networks’, ‘Family And Friends Integrated Networks’, and ‘Non-Kin Restricted Networks’. Older South Asians with ‘Non-Kin Restricted Networks’ were more likely to be lonely and isolated compared to others. Using network typologies developed with individualistically-oriented cultures distributions are skewed towards more robust network types and could underestimate the support needs of older people from familistic cultures, who may be isolated and lonely and with limited informal sources of help. The new typology identifies different network types within multigenerational households, identifies a greater proportion of older people with vulnerable networks and could positively contribute to service planning.
social resources; support networks; ethnic minority groups; immigration; loneliness; social isolation; BME; multigenerational households
Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences