The purpose of this study was to provide a detailed snapshot of the diversity of social support networks of 95 independent-living older adults (mean age = 76). Participants in the convenience sample were recruited from senior centers and a retirement community. Using the Arizona Social Support Interview Schedule and egocentric network analysis, participants' networks are described in terms of patterns, density, size of positive networks (available and utilized), size of negative networks (available and utilized), support need, and support satisfaction. Each participant and the identified members of his or her network were considered a complex adaptive system. Network boundary was 7 members; average network size was 6.22 members (SD = 1.50); network density was moderate (mean = 0.53, SD = 0.33); positive interaction networks were larger than negative networks; and overall, participants reported moderate support need (mean = 2.5, SD = 0.7) and high support satisfaction (mean = 5.9, SD = 1.0).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/patricia_higgins/31/