Social Relations and Aging

  • Deborah Carr
  • Sara M. Moorman
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Studies dating back to Emile Durkheim’s (1897) Suicide demonstrate that social relationships ­provide emotional, social, and economic supports that enhance physical and emotional well-being throughout the life course (House et al. 1988). Over the past three decades, however, researchers have discovered that social relationships are not universally protective for late-life well-being; rather, the protective effects of social ties vary based on the structure, nature, and quality of the relationship. Methodological advances also have enabled researchers to ascertain whether the association between relationships and health reflects social causation (i.e., direct benefits of social relationships), or selection (i.e., characteristics of those people who form and maintain relationships over the life course). Social gerontologists no longer ask, “Do social relationships affect the well-being of older adults?” Rather, they now ask, “Why, how, when, and for whom do social relations affect the health of older adults?”


Romantic Relationship Adult Child Romantic Partner Elder Abuse Social Selection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging ResearchRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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