Reciprocal Family, Friendship and Church Support Networks of African Americans: Findings from the National Survey of American Life
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- Taylor, R.J., Mouzon, D.M., Nguyen, A.W. et al. Race Soc Probl (2016) 8: 326. doi:10.1007/s12552-016-9186-5
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This study examined reciprocal support networks involving extended family, friends and church members among African Americans. Our analysis examined specific patterns of reciprocal support (i.e., received only, gave only, both gave and received, neither gave or received), as well as network characteristics (i.e., contact and subjective closeness) as correlates of reciprocal support. The analysis is based on the African American subsample of the National Survey of American Life. Overall, our findings indicate that African Americans are very involved in reciprocal support networks with their extended family, friends and church members. Respondents were most extensively involved in reciprocal supports with extended family members, followed closely by friends and church networks. Network characteristics (i.e., contact and subjective closeness) were significantly and consistently associated with involvement with reciprocal support exchanges for all three networks. These and other findings are discussed in detail. This study complements previous work on the complementary roles of family, friend and congregational support networks, as well as studies of racial differences in informal support networks.