Lab member Emma Smith, along with alumni Chris Marcum, Adam Boessen, and Zack Almquist, collaborators John Hipp and Nicholas Nagle, and lab PI Carter Butts have had their article, “The Relationship of Age to Personal Network Size, Relational Multiplexity, and Proximity to Alters in the Western United States” accepted for publication in a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences on social networks.
The paper examines the association of age and other socio-demographic variables with properties of personal networks; using samples of individuals residing in the rural western United States and the City of Los Angeles, we evaluate the degree to which these associations vary with geographical context. For both rural and urban populations we find a non-monotone association between age and numbers of core discussants and emergency contacts, with rural populations also showing non-monotone associations for social activity partners. These non-monotone relationships show a peak in expected degree at midlife, followed by an eventual decline. We find a decline in degree among the elderly for all relations in both populations. Age is positively associated with distance to non-household alters for the rural population, although residential tenure is associated with shorter ego-alter distances in both rural and urban settings. Additionally, age is negatively associated with network multiplexity for both populations.