Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 23–44 | Cite as

Changes in the support networks of older adults in the Netherlands

  • Marjolein Broese van Groenou
  • Theo van Tilburg


At first, the study describes the hierarchy in types of network members who provide instrumental and/or emotional support within a sample of older Dutch adults aged between 55 and 89 (n = 2,709). The hierarchy ofinstrumental support differs by partner status of the older adult, but thehierarchy in emotional support does not vary with the availability ofpartner or children. Secondly, multi-level regression analyses usinglongitudinal data indicate that 46 bereaved older adults received increased instrumental support from their network, while their receipt of emotional support remained unchanged. Shifts in the hierarchy of instrumental support were observed, but not in the hierarchy of emotional support. Older people who suffered a decrease in physical mobility (n = 384) received moreinstrumental and emotional support, but the ranking of supporter typeschanged little. It is concluded that despite changes in intensity ofsupport, the hierarchies of types of supporters have generally remainedstable over time.

Social network Support Life events Longitudinal data the Netherlands 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjolein Broese van Groenou
    • 1
  • Theo van Tilburg
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Sociology and Social GerontologyVrije Universiteit AmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Social Research Methodology, Faculty of Social Cultural SciencesVrije Universiteit AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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