Do Family and Social Network Make a Difference in Health among Older Persons? Evidence from Rural Uttar Pradesh, India

Lucky Singh, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

Objectives: To investigate the effects of specific social networks with children, relatives and friends, and confidant on disability among the older persons in rural Uttar Pradesh, India. Method: A sample of 600 older persons aged 60+ living in 12 villages in rural Uttar Pradesh was recruited using multi-stage random sampling. Two well known scales Activity of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) were used to assess disability in older persons. Network effect on disability was analysed using multinomial logistic regression. Results: After controlling for a range of health and personal factors, social network with friends and confidant were protective against developing disability. Networks with children, and relatives did not have a significant protective against on the development of disability. Conclusion: Findings have implications regarding the non-kin support particularly from friends in aging families and to provide elders with opportunities to interact with friends and confidant person.

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Presented in Session 211: Aging and Health in Developing Countries