Encyclopedia of Geropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Nancy A. Pachana

Theories of Social Support and Aging

  • Kira S. BirdittEmail author
  • Nicky J. Newton
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-080-3_123-1


As innately social beings, social relationships are integral to survival and well-being. From the cradle to the grave individuals depend on their social ties for resources and support. Social relationships, although often beginning with maternal attachments, encompass a whole range of people across the life span including family, friends, and peripheral ties. This article begins by defining social relationships; then discusses the current theories and the research with regard to life span changes in relationship quality and the implications of relationships for health and well-being. The article ends with a discussion of directions for future research.

Positive and Negative Dimensions of Relationships

Across the life span, individuals engage in a whole variety of social relationships from immediate families, to spouses, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. These social ties vary widely in their positive and negative qualities (Rook 2015). Positive aspects of relationships...


Life Satisfaction Relationship Quality Adult Child Relationship Satisfaction Marital Conflict 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada