Associations among relational values, support, health, and well-being across the adult lifespan: Relational values, social support, and well-being

ArticleinPersonal Relationships · April 2017with 796 Reads 
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Abstract
Is the link between close relationships and health and well-being static across the lifespan, or are the benefits most evident in older adulthood, when concerns about physical health are greater? In Study 1, a cross-sectional survey of 271,053 adults, valuing friendships was related to better functioning, particularly among older adults, whereas valuing familial relationships exerted a static influence on health and well-being across the lifespan. In Study 2, a longitudinal study of 7,481 older adults, only strain from friendships predicted more chronic illnesses over a 6-year period; support from spouses, children, and friends predicted higher subjective well-being over an 8-year period.

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  • ... Recent literature support the aforementioned conceptualization of wellbeing indicating that high levels of wellbeing correlate to high levels of experiencing positive emotions (Fredrickson and Joiner 2002), meaning in life (Steger 2012), psychological resilience (Faircloth 2017), character strengths (e.g. Goodman et al. 2018;Martínez-Martí and Ruch 2017;Peterson et al. 2007), perceived social support (Chopik 2017;Chu et al. 2010), accomplishments (Gander et al. 2017;Waldinger 2015), good physical health and longevity (Diener and Chan 2011). Also, research has proven the correlation of high wellbeing levels to low levels of depression, anxiety, stress, and distress (e.g. ...
    ... Individuals' wellbeing depends on the wellbeing levels of people with whom they are connected (Fowler and Christakis 2008). Positive close relationships with family, friends and other important people in one's life are characterized by emotional and practical support, intimacy, trust, sense of belonging and other protective indices for one's physical and psychological wellbeing (Carmichael et al. 2015;Chopik 2017;Feeney and Collins 2015;Gable et al. 2006). Literature indicates that high levels of the main function of positive relationships, social support, and especially perceived support from others (the subjective estimation about received support; Hunt 2011) correlates to high levels of wellbeing and life satisfaction (Chandoevwit and Thampanishvong 2016;Tan et al. 2017), experiencing of positive emotions (Kok et al. 2013), and meaning in life (Hicks and King 2009). ...
    ... Indeed, sharing positive experiences and feelings with cherished others is a savoring strategy that creates positive connections among people, since Bpeople who savor together stay together^. Those relationships shape the experience of new positive emotions, give meaning in individuals' lives and promote psychological and physical health (Bryant and Veroff 2007;Chandoevwit and Thampanishvong 2016;Chopik 2017). Positive relationships not only boost the positive elements of one's life but also reduce negative components as well, e.g. ...
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    The aim of the present study was to create the Greek version of the PERMA Profiler questionnaire, which measures the five pillars of wellbeing: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning in life, and accomplishment based on Seligman’s (2011) theory, and to examine its factor structure, measurement invariance, reliability, and convergent and discriminant validity using data from a lifespan sample of 2539 participants. We have tested two models of wellbeing through confirmatory factor analysis, but the first-order five-factor structure of the wellbeing was finally supported. The results also demonstrated acceptable internal consistency and test-retest reliability for the overall wellbeing items and for almost all wellbeing components. The Greek version of PERMA Profiler demonstrated good convergent validity with several wellbeing indices and discriminant validity with psychological symptoms and experiencing of negative emotions. Limitations, recommendations for future studies and the significance of using a multidimensional measure of wellbeing are discussed.
  • ... Once our scaffolding of connection strengthens, our emotional, behavioral, and physical self begins to cultivate a life of flourishing (Hawkley & Cacioppo, 2010). Interestingly, the benefits of connection that enrich health and well-being are largely fostered through one of the aforementioned social relationships: friendship networks (Chopik, 2017). In 2007, researchers Christakis and Fowler, studied the spread of obesity through a large network over a 32-year period. ...
    ... However, when friendships are negative and waning, they can exacerbate existing health concerns or create new ones. In one study, data showed that when friendships were the source of tension in one's life, individuals report more chronic illness; but when friendships offer support, individuals report being happier (Chopik, 2017). While seemingly intuitive that friends would have an influence on our health and well-being, they surprisingly might play a larger role than familial or spousal relationships in adulthood (Christakis, & Fowler, 2007). ...
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    Research has long shown the benefits of social connection for individual well-being. Positive Psychology offers several theories for fostering social connection and yet, throughout our lives we aren’t formally taught how to sustain connections, particularly our cherished friendships. Once you form a friendship, how do you make it last? In this paper, we examine friendship through existing literature and qualitative research leveraging exemplar methodology. Because a pursuit of well-being often includes a pursuit of friendship, we offer research-supported, real-world strategies for maintaining and strengthening friendships in adulthood.
  • ... The literature suggests several grounds to infer that the origins of these concerns may well lie in compulsive buyers' perceiving their own disinhibited behavior as a direct threat to maintaining and consolidating these valued social relationships. First, in contrast to other types of close relationships, such as those with family members, friendships are not a given, but are optional (Chopik, 2017). Hence, the relationship exists as long as it is mutually beneficial, but may be terminated when it ceases to be. ...
    ... A perhaps ironic observation is that our findings show the 'dark side' of one of the key assets of friendships: the experience of safety and comfort that they offer. On the other hand we also demonstrate the 'bright side' of a downside of friendships: their inherently optional nature (at least when compared to family members, see Chopik, 2017), may exacerbate the sense of threat for compulsive buyers, but this also boosts motivation and actual display of self-control among these consumers. Our work thus extends the literature on compulsive buying, that is heavily focused on the motives and consequences of compulsive buying (Dittmar, 2005;Dittmar & Drury, 2000;Faber & OʼGuinn, 2008), but has neglected the role of social factors in the selfregulatory behaviors of these consumers. ...
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    Does the real or imagined presence of friends invariantly drive consumers to engage in disinhibited behavior, and give in to the "urge to splurge" in the face of consumption temptations? Or might there be situations in which being with friends or even merely thinking of friends or the friendships we have with them can actually improve self-control? In five studies, using a unique combination of controlled experiments examining overt consumer behavior and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we propose and show that the extent to which consumers identify a goal conflict between giving in to buying temptations on the one hand and the perceived consequences for maintaining satisfactory relationships with close friends on the other is a critical mediator of whether friendship reminders decrease or increase self-control. We further show that such a goal conflict is most likely for consumers with a chronic, compulsive tendency for uncontrolled, disinhibited acquisition and consumption-for consumers classified as compulsive buyers. For their non-compulsive counterparts, in contrast, acts of acquisition and consumption, even incidental disinhibited ones, are perceived to be less problematic in light of their friendships and hence do not induce a goal conflict to the same extent. Our findings provide insights into social influences on self-control and identify the concept of friendship reminders as a way to reduce a common type of dysfunctional consumer behavior. In addition to enhancing consumer well-being, reducing compulsive buying will substantially reduce handling costs for organizations. Hence, the findings are of academic, societal and managerial relevance.
  • ... and friend strain (a > .79). Support and strain were examined as distinct scales because previous factor analyses suggested that they were distinct constructs (Chopik, 2017). ...
    ... Friendships hold a particularly interesting place in relationships research. Despite lacking filial investments and typical obligations (e.g., exclusivity in romantic relationships), they persist as long as they provide emotional benefits for the individuals involved (Baker et al., in press;Chopik, 2017). In other words, friendships last because people enjoy them, more so than other types of relationships. ...
    Article
    Previous research has offered mixed evidence on whether obligation in relationships benefits or harms individuals and their relationships. Given that few studies are prospective and consider multiple close relationships, we used 18-year longitudinal data to model whether obligation is associated with differences in relational and individual well-being over time. Because prior mixed findings may be attributed to differential influences of obligation across development, we also considered age. Light obligation predicted higher levels of relational and individual well-being; substantive obligation sometimes predicted lower levels of well-being. Both types of obligation mostly did not predict changes in relationships and well-being over time except substantive obligation predicted slower increases in friend support. The associations between light and substantive obligation were largely uniform across age. The only exception was for substantive obligation and friend support; substantive obligation was associated with a slower increase in friend support only for younger adults (<39 years old). This study extends previous research by examining obligation among middle-aged adults, addressing a critical developmental gap in this literature. Findings suggest that understanding people’s obligations toward close others is important not only for their own well-being but also their relationships in adulthood.
  • ... The literature suggests several grounds to infer that the origins of these concerns may well lie in compulsive buyers' perceiving their own disinhibited behavior as a direct threat to maintaining and consolidating these valued social relationships. First, in contrast to other types of close relationships, such as those with family members, friendships are not a given, but are optional (Chopik, 2017). Hence, the relationship exists as long as it is mutually beneficial, but may be terminated when it ceases to be. ...
    ... A perhaps ironic observation is that our findings show the 'dark side' of one of the key assets of friendships: the experience of safety and comfort that they offer. On the other hand we also demonstrate the 'bright side' of a downside of friendships: their inherently optional nature (at least when compared to family members, see Chopik, 2017), may exacerbate the sense of threat for compulsive buyers, but this also boosts motivation and actual display of self-control among these consumers. Our work thus extends the literature on compulsive buying, that is heavily focused on the motives and consequences of compulsive buying (Dittmar, 2005;Dittmar & Drury, 2000;Faber & OʼGuinn, 2008), but has neglected the role of social factors in the selfregulatory behaviors of these consumers. ...
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    Does the real or imagined presence of friends invariantly drive consumers to engage in disinhibited behavior, and give in to the "urge to splurge" in the face of consumption temptations? Or might there be situations in which being with friends or even merely thinking of friends or the friendships we have with them can actually improve self-control?In five studies, using a unique combination of controlled experiments examining overt consumer behavior and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we propose and show that the extent to which consumers identify a goal conflict between giving in to buying temptations on the one hand and the perceived consequences for maintaining satisfactory relationships with close friends on the other is a critical mediator of whether friendship reminders decrease or increase self-control. We further show that such a goal conflict is most likely for consumers with a chronic, compulsive tendency for uncontrolled, disinhibited acquisition and consumption-for consumers classified as compulsive buyers. For their non-compulsive counterparts, in contrast, acts of acquisition and consumption, even incidental disinhibited ones, are perceived to be less problematic in light of their friendships and hence do not induce a goal conflict to the same extent. Our findings provide insights into social influences on self-control and identify the concept of friendship reminders as a way to reduce a common type of dysfunctional consumer behavior. In addition to enhancing consumer well-being, reducing compulsive buying will substantially reduce handling costs for organizations. Hence, the findings are of academic, societal and managerial relevance.
  • ... (Ayotte, Yang, & Jones, 2010). (Chopik, 2017;Uchino, 2009). These items are (1) "How often do they make too many demands on you?" (2) "How much do they criticize you?" (3) "How much do they let you down when you are counting on them?" and (4) "How much do they get on your nerves?" ...
    ... Relationship strain was modeled separately for both couple members as mediators of the link between actor/partner discrimination and mental and physical health. This mediation model tests whether one partner's experiences of discrimination are associated with higher levels of marital strain in the other partner (Trail et al., 2012) and subsequently whether higher levels of marital strain are associated with worse mental and physical health (Chopik, 2017;Rook, 2015). ...
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    Little is known about how discriminatory experiences are associated with interpersonal relationships—specifically whether one person’s experience of discrimination has psychological effects on their partner and their relationship (i.e., vicarious effects). Using dyadic data analyses, we examined actor and partner effects of discriminatory experiences on self-rated health, chronic illness, depression, and relationship strain in a sample of 1,949 couples (3,898 participants). Actor and partner discrimination were associated with poorer health, greater depression, and greater relationship strain. These effects were mediated by higher levels of relationship strain. Our findings provide insight into the effects of direct and vicarious experiences of discrimination on interpersonal relationships.
  • ... Indeed, other studies have found that loneliness generally is correlated to negative health outcomes equivalent to smoking around 15 cigarettes a day, and an increased mortality risk of around 26% (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015). While the most effective predictors of mortality risk with respect to social relationships are multifaceted indices (which account for familial arrangements, marital status and other factors), friendships and the perceived level of support available from these friendships are also very important (Chopik, 2017;Cohen et al., 1997). As well as reducing loneliness, shared growing and eating, as well as volunteering with initiatives that redistribute food, have been shown to increase feelings of belonging to a community and understanding between social groups (Dunbar, 2017;Meier and Stutzerz, 2008;Rogge et al., 2018). ...
    ... Co-design workshop Accessibility of food 4. Increased access to and consumption of fruit and vegetables 2, 3, 10 CRFS 5. Increased access to and consumption of fresh food 2, 3, 10 CRFS Health and well-being 6. Connecting and creating new support networks within communities 3, 11 Co-design workshop (Chopik, 2017;Dunbar, 2010;Holt-Lunstad et al., 2010) 7. Boosting levels of meal sharing 2, 3, 11 Co-design Workshop (Dunbar, 2017;Julier, 2013) 8. Increasing well-being through volunteering 3, 11 Co-design workshop (Meier and Stutzerz, 2008;Volunteer Ireland, 2017) 9. Improving self-confidence and resilience 1, 3, 10, 11 Co-design workshop (Bandura, 2006;Garcia et al., 2016;Muturi et al., 2016) 10. Increasing movement and exercise 3 CRFS & Co-design workshop 11. ...
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    Urban food systems must undergo a significant transformation if they are to avoid impeding the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals. One reconfiguration with claimed sustainability benefits is ICT-mediated food sharing-an umbrella term used to refer to technologically-augmented collective or collaborative practices around growing, cooking, eating and redistributing food-which some argue improves environmental effi-ciencies by reducing waste, providing opportunities to make or save money, building social networks and generally enhancing well-being. However, most sustainability claims for food sharing have not been evidenced by systematically collected and presented data. In this paper we document our response to this mismatch between claims and evidence through the development of the SHARECITY sustainability Impact assessment Toolkit (SHARE IT); a novel Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) framework which has been co-designed with food sharing initiatives to better indicate the impact of food-sharing initiatives in urban food systems. We demonstrate that while several SIA frameworks have been developed to evaluate food systems at the urban scale, they contain few measures that specifically account for impacts of the sharing that initiatives undertake. The main body of the paper focuses on the co-design process undertaken with food sharing initiatives based in Dublin and London. Attention is paid to how two core goals were achieved: 1) the identification of a coherent SIA framework containing appropriate indicators for the activities of food sharing initiatives; and 2) the development of an open access online toolkit for in order to make SIA reporting accessible for food sharing initiatives. In conclusion, the co-design process revealed a number of technical and conceptual challenges, but it also stimulated creative responses to these challenges.
  • ... Consistent with previous studies on social networks among older adults (Chopik, 2017;Litwin & Shiovitz-Ezra, 2011), we distinguish older adults' social networks in terms of family ties and friendship ties. Studies from some Western countries have consistently shown that friendship interaction is positively related to self-esteem, morale and mental health among older adults, while family ties are not always beneficial, being dependent on the quality of the relationship (Chopik, 2017;Lee & Ishii-Kuntz, 1987;Lee & Shehan, 1989). ...
    ... Consistent with previous studies on social networks among older adults (Chopik, 2017;Litwin & Shiovitz-Ezra, 2011), we distinguish older adults' social networks in terms of family ties and friendship ties. Studies from some Western countries have consistently shown that friendship interaction is positively related to self-esteem, morale and mental health among older adults, while family ties are not always beneficial, being dependent on the quality of the relationship (Chopik, 2017;Lee & Ishii-Kuntz, 1987;Lee & Shehan, 1989). Potential differences in the effects of family and friendship ties on emotional well-being in later life in non-Western contexts remain poorly studied on the whole, with a few exceptions (Lei, Shen, et al., 2015;Li & Zhang, 2015). ...
    Article
    Objective: This study examines the interplay among living arrangements, social networks, and depressive symptoms among Chinese older adults. Methods: Data are derived from the 2014 baseline survey of the China Longitudinal Aging Social Survey (CLASS), which provides a sample of older Chinese who had been married and had children (N = 7,662). This study examines the association between living arrangements and depressive symptoms (measured as CES-D scale, 0–18) of older adults, and addresses the moderating role of social networks (measured as family ties and friendship ties, 0–15) on this perceived association. Results: Our results show that older adults who live both with a spouse and adult children report superior mental health than those living alone (β = 1.240, p < 0.001), but no differences are seen from those living only with a spouse or children. Older adults living alone in rural areas are also more disadvantaged in comparison to those living alone in urban places (β = 0.535, p < 0.05). However, we find that the undesirable consequences associated with depression of older adults living alone can be reduced or even eliminated when older adults have strong friendship ties in rural China (β = −0.145, p < 0.01). We also find that for rural older adults living only with children, their mental health is highly contingent on their family ties, that is, they are extremely disadvantaged when having weak family ties, but benefit most significantly from strong family ties (β = −0.137, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Associations between living arrangements and mental health in later life are contingent on older adults’ social networks, and these moderating effects vary between rural and urban China.
  • ... Finally, some researchers have examined both physical and psychological benefits of friendships (see e.g., review by Holt-Lunstad, 2017). For example, Chopik (2017) analyzed data 18 from the World Value Survey administered in 97 countries around the world. Respondents ranged in age from 15 to 99 years. ...
  • ... Midlife is arguably the time during which individuals spend the most time and effort in gaining experience with respect to reciprocal interpersonal relationships. The influences of other, nonspousal relationships that occur in midlife on attachment orientation are less clear (Chopik, 2017). Are spousal relationships the greatest determinants of security in middle age? ...
    Article
    Research on individual differences in attachment-and their links to emotion, cognition, and behavior in close relationships-has proliferated over the last several decades. However, the majority of this research has focused on children and young adults. Little is known about mean-level changes in attachment orientation beyond early life, in part due to a dearth of longitudinal data on attachment across the life span. The current study used a Q-Sort-based measure of attachment to examine mean-level changes in attachment orientation from age 13 to 72 using data from the Block and Block Longitudinal Study, the Intergenerational Studies, and the Radcliffe College Class of 1964 Sample (total N = 628). Multilevel modeling was employed to estimate growth curve trajectories across the combined samples. We found that attachment anxiety declined on average with age, particularly during middle age and older adulthood. Attachment avoidance decreased in a linear fashion across the life span. Being in a relationship predicted lower levels of anxiety and avoidance across adulthood. Men were higher in attachment avoidance at each point in the life span. Taken together, these findings provide much-needed insight into how attachment orientations change over long stretches of time. We conclude with a discussion about the challenges of studying attachment dynamics across the life course and across specific transitions. (PsycINFO Database Record
  • ... Research on social interactions suggests distinct benefits and challenges of familial and friendship relationships. Friendships are associated with stronger effects on subjective wellbeing [14,13], impact on morale [20] and better functioning [4] as compared to familial relationships. This relative importance of friendships in later life is explained by the voluntary nature of friendships, which makes them more selective and therefore, potentially of higher quality [20,2]. ...
    Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    Friendships and social interactions are renown contributors to wellbeing. As such, keeping a healthy amount of relationships becomes very important as people age and the size of their social network tends to decrease. In this paper , we take a step back and explore reconnection -- find out about or re-contact old friends, an emerging topic due to the increased use of computer-mediated technology by older adults to maintain friendships and form new ones. We report on our findings from semi-structured interviews with 28 individuals from Costa Rica and Poland. The interviews aimed to explore whether there is a wish to reconnect, and the challenges encountered by older adults to reconnect. We contribute with design considerations for tools allowing older adults to reconnect, discussing opportunities for technology.
  • ... Such claims can only be made with multiple longitudinal studies involving various demographic profiles that may capture different historical, cultural, and environmental contexts. For example, research has shown that social values and concerns, as well as general principles that guide social relationships, change with age (e.g., [8,41]). Although age was statistically controlled for in the present study, future studies can use younger samples to more explicitly examine the role played by age in the mutual relationship between social and subjective well-being. ...
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    Full-text available
    Purpose: Self-determination theory suggests that psycho-social well-being prospectively predicts subjective well-being. In contrast, the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions suggests that subjective well-being has a positive impact on subsequent levels of psycho-social well-being. The present study sought to empirically disentangle the directionality of the relationship between subjective well-being and social well-being over time. Methods: The study used three waves of survey data, with intervals of 10 years, from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) project, a representative longitudinal panel study of American adults (N = 2732). Cross-lagged panel modeling was used for data analysis. Results: The results revealed that social well-being predicted increases in subsequent subjective well-being, whereas subjective well-being did not prospectively predict social well-being. Social well-being also demonstrated more stability over time than did subjective well-being. Conclusion: These findings suggest that optimal social functioning is more likely to be an antecedent to subjective well-being, not the other way around. The results are consistent with predictions guided by self-determination theory.
  • ... Research on social interactions suggests distinct benefits and challenges of familial and friendship relationships. Friendships are associated with stronger effects on subjective wellbeing [14,13], impact on morale [20] and better functioning [4] as compared to familial relationships. This relative importance of friendships in later life is explained by the voluntary nature of friendships, which makes them more selective and therefore, potentially of higher quality [20,2]. ...
    Preprint
    Full-text available
    Friendships and social interactions are renown contributors to wellbeing. As such, keeping a healthy amount of relationships becomes very important as people age and the size of their social network tends to decrease. In this paper, we take a step back and explore reconnection -- find out about or re-contact old friends, an emerging topic due to the increased use of computer-mediated technology by older adults to maintain friendships and form new ones. We report on our findings from semi-structured interviews with 28 individuals from Costa Rica and Poland. The interviews aimed to explore whether there is a wish to reconnect, and the challenges encountered by older adults to reconnect. We contribute with design considerations for tools allow- ing older adults to reconnect, discussing opportunities for technology.
  • ... We reverse scored and averaged responses to yield a composite score for spousal strain (␣ ϭ .78). Although the support and strain questions were embedded within the same questionnaire, confirmatory factor analyses suggest that they indeed form two separate constructs (Chopik, 2017). ...
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    Full-text available
    The current study aimed to conceptually replicate previous studies on the effects of actor personality, partner personality, and personality similarity on general and relational well-being by using response surface analyses and a longitudinal sample of 4,464 romantic couples. Similar to previous studies using difference scores and profile correlations, results from response surface analyses indicated that personality similarity explained a small amount of variance in well-being as compared with the amount of variance explained by linear actor and partner effects. However, response surface analyses also revealed that second-order terms (i.e., the interaction term and quadratic terms of actor and partner personality) were systematically linked to couples’ well-being for all traits except neuroticism. In particular, most response surfaces showed a complex pattern in which the effect of similarity and dissimilarity on well-being depended on the level and combination of actor and partner personality. In addition, one small but robust similarity effect was found, indicating that similarity in agreeableness was related to women’s experience of support across the eight years of the study. The discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for theory and research on personality similarity in romantic relationships.
  • ... Nevertheless, several possibilities for alternative explanations still exist. For example, because memories of parental care at least partially depend on current relationship quality (Dalton et al., 2006), and relationship quality across a variety of different relationships is associated with health (Chopik, 2017), current relationship quality might explain variation in both retrospective memories and health. Likewise, individual differences in cognitive ability may also affect both retrospective memories and health (e.g., Vuolo, Ferraro, Morton, & Yang, 2014). ...
    Article
    Objective: Perceptions of early caregiving experiences are hypothesized to be influential across the life span. However, previous research testing this hypothesis focuses primarily on young adults and use mostly cross-sectional designs. The current study examined associations between memories of early caregiving experiences and trajectories of depressive symptoms and physical health in 2 large samples of middle-aged and older adults. Method: Sample 1 consisted of participants from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (n = 7,108) followed for 18 years (from 1995/1996 until 2013/2014). Sample 2 consisted of participants from the Health and Retirement Study (n = 15,234) followed over a 6-year period. Memories of caregiver support before age 18 were retrospectively assessed in middle and older adulthood; associations between these memories and changes in self-rated health, chronic health conditions, and depressive symptoms over time were examined. Results: Memories of higher parental affection in early childhood were associated with better self-rated health and lower depressive symptoms over intervals of approximately 6 and 18 years, in both samples; the results for chronic health conditions was more mixed. These associations persisted over time and were not moderated by time. Conclusion: Associations between perceptions of caregiver support and health persisted over time, underscoring the importance of memories of close relationships for health and depressive symptoms across the life span, even into late life. Findings are discussed in relation to models that link perceptions of early life experiences to later life outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
  • ... In my experience as well as those of others, friendships are vital (Chopik, 2017). This does not necessitate being involved with large numbers of people who require a great commitment of your time. ...
  • ... Further, socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) suggests that as people age and experience certain life events (e.g., retirement), they see time as limited and are motivated to achieve more emotion-related goals, which may be facilitated by empathy (Carstensen, Isaacowitz, & Charles, 1999). For instance, older adults focus more on investing in close relationships that help serve emotional goals (Carstensen et al., 1999;Chopik, 2017), and when experimental studies manipulate relational closeness, empathy increases with enhanced closeness (Zhang, Fung, Stanley, Isaacowitz, & Ho, 2013). Indeed, empathy is related to constructs that are aligned with satisfying emotional goals: Empathy is positively associated with relationship satisfaction (Davis & Oathout, 1987) and negatively associated with depression and relational conflict (Cramer & Jowett, 2010). ...
    Article
    The development of empathy is a hotly debated topic. Some studies find declines and others an inverse U-shaped pattern in empathy across the life span. Yet other studies find no age-related changes. Most of this research is cross sectional, and the few longitudinal studies have their limitations. The current study addresses these limitations by examining changes in empathy in six longitudinal samples (total N = 740, age 13–72). In a preliminary study (N = 784), we created and validated a measure of empathy out of the California Adult Q-Sort. The samples were combined for multilevel analyses in a variant of an accelerated longitudinal design. We found that empathy increased across the life span, particularly after age 40, and more recent cohorts were higher in empathy.
  • ... In addition, we also tested the effects of personality traits on providing and receiving spousal strain within couples. Spousal strain is the opposite of the concept of spousal support, but it may present different aspects than positive forms of spousal support, so some have suggested including social strain in studies of social support (Chopik, 2017;Rook, 1990). For example, social strain has been found to be influential in developmental outcomes such as emotional and physical health outcomes after controlling for the effects of social support (Birditt, Newton, & Hope, 2012;Walen & Lachman, 2000). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    This study examined the effects of the Big Five personality traits on support/strain exchange within older couples. Data of 1,775 older couples aged between 50 and 85 years in 2014 from the Health and Retirement Study were assessed, and actor–partner interdependent models were used. For the actor effects, all the five factors predicted their report on the spousal support/strain from the spouse; some differences between husbands and wives, as well as support and strain, were detected. For the partner effects, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism predicted the support/strain provision reported by the partner. The findings of this study illustrate that certain personality factors work as predictors of spousal support/strain in older couples. The possible mechanism with regard to older adults' personality and marital relationship was discussed.
  • ... Support from friends was the most important domain in men, while family support was the most influential factor in women. According to Chopik [34], friendship becomes more important from the perspective of health and welfare as we age, but this does not explain why family support was the most influential factor in women. Since women are influenced more by family support [35], it could be postulated that the importance of support from friends grows earlier in men, becoming the most influential domain of social support in men. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Objectives: The relationships among discrimination, social support, and mental health have mostly been studied in minorities, and relevant studies in the general population are lacking. We aimed to investigate associations between discrimination and depressive symptoms in Korean non-minority young adults, considering the role of social support. Methods: In total, 372 participants who completed the psychological examinations conducted in the third wave of the Jangseong High School Cohort study were included. We used the Everyday Discrimination Scale to evaluate perceived discrimination and the Beck Depression Inventory-II to measure depressive symptoms. Social support was measured by the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Multivariate linear regression was conducted to investigate associations between discrimination and depression, along with the effect modification of social support. We stratified the population by gender to investigate gender differences. Results: Perceived discrimination was significantly associated with depressive symptoms (β=0.736, p<0.001), and social support was negatively associated with depression (β=-0.245, p<0.001). In men, support from friends was the most influential factor (β=-0.631, p=0.011), but no significant effect modification was found. In women, support from family was the most influential factor (β=-0.440, p=0.010), and women with higher familial support showed a significantly diminished association between discrimination and depression, unlike those with lower family support. Conclusions: Discrimination perceived by individuals can lead to depressive symptoms in Korean young adults, and this relationship can may differ by gender and social support status.
  • ... For example, optimists (1) are more likely to seek (and receive) social support when facing difficult situations, (2) are more liked, (3) have a larger network of friends, and (4) these friends provide more social support during stressful times (Andersson, 2012;Brissette, Scheier, & Carver, 2002;Carver, Kus, & Scheier, 1994;Karademas, 2006;Nes & Segerstrom, 2006;Segerstrom, 2001;Trunzo & Pinto, 2003). This additional social support may help spouses and relationships by building stronger relationships and social capital-antecedents and factors that help promote cognitive functioning later life (Chopik, 2017;Welker et al., 2014). Empirically testing these potential mechanisms between partner optimism and cognitive functioning is an exciting avenue for future research. ...
    Article
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    Objective: Higher optimism has been linked with health, well-being, and cognitive functioning. Spouses also play an important role on people's health, especially in older adulthood. Yet, whether a spouse's optimism is associated with an individual's cognitive functioning is understudied. Thus, we examined this question. Method: Participants were 4,457 heterosexual couples (N = 8,914; Mage = 66.73, SD = 9.67) from the Health and Retirement Study-a large, diverse, prospective, and nationally representative sample of U.S. adults aged > 50. Optimism was assessed at baseline (t1 ) and cognition was measured every two years with up to five repeated assessments of cognition data over the eight-year follow-up period (t1 ; t2 ; t3 ; t4 ; t5 ). Results: Results from multi-level dyadic data analyses showed small but positive associations between actor optimism and actor cognitive functioning (memory: r = 0.16, mental status =0.10), as well as partner optimism and actor cognitive functioning (memory: r = 0.04, mental status = 0.03). These associations mostly persisted over time. Conclusions: Possessing higher optimism, and also having a partner with higher optimism, were both associated with higher cognitive functioning. Thus, with further research, optimism (at both the individual and couple level) might emerge as an innovative intervention target that helps adults maintain cognitive functioning as they age.
  • ... One instrumental source of these benefits may be the satisfaction of needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Kasser and Ryan 1999;Knee et al. 2013;Ryan and Deci 2017a, b;Uysal et al. 2010). While closer relationships might provide more benefits than less close relationships (Holt-Lunstad et al. 2010), the number of close relationships is often limited (Fingerman 2009) and less close relationships can provide unique benefits (Baker et al., revise and resubmit;Chopik 2017). Moreover, the amount of time required to develop close relationships can be immense. ...
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    Psychological need satisfaction is essential for daily human functioning and one of its sources is high quality interactions. Rapport is essential to high quality interactions and may be one way that various relationships types can provide the nutriments of healthy functioning. We hypothesized that when people perceive interactions to be higher in rapport, they will experience greater satisfaction of their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. We also explored whether this would be a basic process that would be altered by the relationship between interactants, testing this with multiple operationalizations. We conducted an event-contingent diary study in which participants (nparticipants = 124) responded to items at baseline, each time they experienced an interaction (ninteraction = 1293), and at two-week follow-up. Supporting hypotheses, rapport in interactions was positively associated with need satisfaction within-persons, between-persons, cross-sectionally, and when examining temporal change. Moreover, rapport tended to predict the satisfaction of one’s needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness independently. Finally, relationships between interactants did not moderate these associations.
  • ... In the modern workplace, workers are tasked with completing their assigned tasks and managing workplace relationships -all of which can be quite depleting, especially in workplaces that are less hospitable (Oyeleye et al., 2013;Ekienabor, 2016). Naturally, family relationships are not without their stressful features either (Sheehan and Nuttall, 1988) -people navigate multiple relationships outside of the work domain that can often put a burden on them, even when those relationships are not inherently conflictual (Rook, 2015;Chopik, 2017). Although both work and family contexts are often examined separately, there are many times in which stress from one domain crosses over and affects the other. ...
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    Coworker support has been hypothesized to enhance work-life outcomes. However, the mechanisms underlying this association are unclear. Two studies examined how coworker support predicted work-life outcomes through positive work environment and burnout. It was hypothesized that coworker support enhances work environment, and that better work environment is associated with less burnout; in turn, reduced burnout is associated with less negative work-life interference. In two large studies of working adults (total N = 5,666), we found support for our model – coworker support predicted work-family outcomes and this association was mediated by more positive work environments and reduced burnout. Study 2 was a short-term lagged confirmation of the model. Results are discussed in the context of efforts to improve workplace climate, reduce turnover, and improve workers’ job satisfaction.
  • Chapter
    Interdependence, Interaction, and Close Relationships - edited by Laura V. Machia June 2020
  • Article
    Objectives: The composition of one’s social network has been associated with cognition such that a greater proportion of family is associated with worse cognition compared to a greater proportion of friends. It is not clear whether this association between network composition and cognitive aging is driven by potential negative effects of family interactions or positive effects of friend interactions. Methods: Using the Health and Retirement Study (T1: 2006/2008, T2: 2010/2012, T3: 2012/2014), a longitudinal mediation model was conducted to test the effects of composition on episodic memory and latent change in memory through contact frequency with friends and family. Results: Analyses revealed indirect effects of composition on both T2 memory and latent change in memory through contact frequency with friends. A greater proportion of family in one’s network was associated with lower contact frequency with friends and in turn lower memory. Composition was also associated with higher contact frequency with family; however, contact frequency with family was not associated with memory. Conclusions: These findings suggest that spending time with family may not affect episodic memory in older adulthood, but spending time with friends may be beneficial. Potential mechanisms and implications regarding the importance of friendships in later life are discussed.
  • Article
    Objectives: Having friends in old age is linked to higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Yet, we know little about older adults' emotional experiences when they encounter friends throughout the day. This study examined whether older adults reported (a) more pleasantness, (b) fewer conversations about stressful experiences, and (c) better mood when they had contact with friends compared to when they had contact with other social partners or were alone throughout the day. We also examined whether these experiences varied by the friendship closeness. Methods: Adults aged 65+ (n = 313) from the Daily Experiences and Well-being Study provided background information and listed and described their close social partners. Participants then completed ecological momentary assessment (EMA) surveys every 3 hours for 5 to 6 days where they reported their encounters with social partners, rated the pleasantness and indicated whether they discussed stressful issues during these encounters, and rated positive and negative mood. Results: Multilevel models revealed that encounters with friends were more pleasant and were associated with fewer discussions about stressful experiences compared to encounters with romantic partners or family members throughout the day. Encounters with friends were also associated with better mood, though this link only held for encounters with friends who were not considered close. Discussion: Findings are discussed in terms of functionalist theory, socioemotional selectivity theory, relationship ambivalence, and the benefits of less close ties. This work facilitates the understanding of how daily contact with friends can promote older adults' emotional well-being.
  • Article
    This article challenges the dominance of age homophily in the literature on friendship. Using findings from a recent study on intergenerational friendship, we put forward a new conceptualization of a homophily of doing-and-being in friendships between adults who are of different generations. This research took a qualitative approach using constructivist grounded theory methodology. Homophily of doing-and-being has three components: being “friends in action” (pursuing interests and leisure activities, or simply spending time together), being “not only old” (sharing identities beyond age), and sharing attitudes and approaches to friendship and life. Additionally, “differences” were an important element of interest between the intergenerational friends. Our discovery of the centrality of doing-and-being, and the relative insignificance of age homophily, constitute a novel way of looking at friendship, and a new way of conceptualizing how and why (older) adults make and maintain friendships.
  • Chapter
    Am spannendsten sind noch immer jene Formen menschlicher Beziehungen, in denen sich die Akteure von Angesicht zu Angesicht begegnen. Hier wird gelebt und geliebt, getötet und gestorben. Wir nennen diese unmittelbaren Formen menschlichen Umgangs Interaktionsraum. Auch Gruppen gehören zu unserem Interaktionsraum. Soziale Gruppen sind soziale Wirklichkeiten und sie konstruieren soziale Wirklichkeiten in eigendynamischer Weise. Eigendynamik und Selbstregulation schützen aber nicht vor Torheiten. Gelingt es den Mitgliedern sozialaer Gruppen nicht, die selbst geschaffenen Gruppengrenzen zu öffnen und mit den Gruppenumwelten (gruppenfremden Personen, anderen Gruppen und Institutionen) zu interagieren und zu kommunizieren, wächst die Gefahr von extremem Gruppendenken und zunehmenden Gruppenegoismen. Die eigene Gruppe wird auf diese Weise zum Echoraum, in dem sich die Gruppenmitglieder spiegeln und die wirkliche Wirklichkeit nicht mehr zur Kenntnis genommen wird.
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    Cambridge Core - Social Psychology - Interdependence, Interaction, and Close Relationships - edited by Laura V. Machia
  • Article
    Life history theory predicts that people calibrate their reproductive strategies to local levels of environmental harshness and unpredictability. While previous research has established the importance of early life cues in the development of life history strategy, the degree to which life history strategy exhibits plasticity later in life is unclear. Using longitudinal data (total N = 479) from four archival studies and a recently validated psychological measure of life history strategy, we examined mean-level trends in life history strategy at the level of psychological phenotype between the ages of 7 and 60 and found that life history strategy slowed down linearly as a function of age. Highlighting the importance of sexual selection in shaping life history strategy, we also found that men had a faster life history strategy than women at all ages and that the magnitude of this difference was constant across the lifespan. Our findings suggest that life history strategy development continues even in older adulthood. We discuss the possibility that this occurs in response to the accumulation of biological and social (e.g. offspring, relationships) capital and information about local risks and incentives.
  • Article
    PART I THE LOGIC OF HIERARCHICAL LINEAR MODELING Series Editor 's Introduction to Hierarchical Linear Models Series Editor 's Introduction to the Second Edition 1.Introduction 2.The Logic of Hierarchical Linear Models 3. Principles of Estimation and Hypothesis Testing for Hierarchical Linear Models 4. An Illustration PART II BASIC APPLICATIONS 5. Applications in Organizational Research 6. Applications in the Study of Individual Change 7. Applications in Meta-Analysis and Other Cases where Level-1 Variances are Known 8. Three-Level Models 9. Assessing the Adequacy of Hierarchical Models PART III ADVANCED APPLICATIONS 10. Hierarchical Generalized Linear Models 11. Hierarchical Models for Latent Variables 12. Models for Cross-Classified Random Effects 13. Bayesian Inference for Hierarchical Models PART IV ESTIMATION THEORY AND COMPUTATIONS 14. Estimation Theory Summary and Conclusions References Index About the Authors
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    Two decades of research indicate causal associations between social relationships and mortality, but important questions remain as to how social relationships affect health, when effects emerge, and how long they last. Drawing on data from four nationally representative longitudinal samples of the US population, we implemented an innovative life course design to assess the prospective association of both structural and functional dimensions of social relationships (social integration, social support, and social strain) with objectively measured biomarkers of physical health (C-reactive protein, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index) within each life stage, including adolescence and young, middle, and late adulthood, and compare such associations across life stages. We found that a higher degree of social integration was associated with lower risk of physiological dysregulation in a dose-response manner in both early and later life. Conversely, lack of social connections was associated with vastly elevated risk in specific life stages. For example, social isolation increased the risk of inflammation by the same magnitude as physical inactivity in adolescence, and the effect of social isolation on hypertension exceeded that of clinical risk factors such as diabetes in old age. Analyses of multiple dimensions of social relationships within multiple samples across the life course produced consistent and robust associations with health. Physiological impacts of structural and functional dimensions of social relationships emerge uniquely in adolescence and midlife and persist into old age.
  • Article
    Teaching skills are observed in samples of primary schools in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Slowakia, Croatia and Scotland. A sequential level of difficulty in teaching skills has been observed. Activities in the domains 'ensuring a safe and stimulating environment' and 'efficient lesson organization' constitute the most easy competence domains, while those in the domains of 'clear and structured instruction' and 'intensifying the lesson and activating students' are of intermediate difficulty. Activities in the domains of 'adapting instruction to student differences' and 'teaching students thinking and learning strategies' are the most difficult ones. A cross-sectional study reveals that teachers, during the first 20 years of experience seem to develop their teaching skills according this sequential level of difficulty. After about 20 years of experience the level of teaching of the average teacher seems to decrease slowly.
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    Five studies tested hypotheses derived from the sociometer model of self-esteem according to which the self-esteem system monitors others' reactions and alerts the individual to the possibility of social exclusion. Study 1 showed that the effects of events on participants' state self-esteem paralleled their assumptions about whether such events would lead others to accept or reject them. In Study 2, participants' ratings of how included they felt in a real social situation correlated highly with their self-esteem feelings. In Studies 3 and 4, social exclusion caused decreases in self-esteem when respondents were excluded from a group for personal reasons, but not when exclusion was random, but this effect was not mediated by self-presentation. Study 5 showed that trait self-esteem correlated highly with the degree to which respondents generally felt included versus excluded by other people. Overall, results provided converging evidence for the sociometer model.
  • Article
    The prevalence of obesity has increased substantially over the past 30 years. We performed a quantitative analysis of the nature and extent of the person-to-person spread of obesity as a possible factor contributing to the obesity epidemic. We evaluated a densely interconnected social network of 12,067 people assessed repeatedly from 1971 to 2003 as part of the Framingham Heart Study. The body-mass index was available for all subjects. We used longitudinal statistical models to examine whether weight gain in one person was associated with weight gain in his or her friends, siblings, spouse, and neighbors. Discernible clusters of obese persons (body-mass index [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters], > or =30) were present in the network at all time points, and the clusters extended to three degrees of separation. These clusters did not appear to be solely attributable to the selective formation of social ties among obese persons. A person's chances of becoming obese increased by 57% (95% confidence interval [CI], 6 to 123) if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given interval. Among pairs of adult siblings, if one sibling became obese, the chance that the other would become obese increased by 40% (95% CI, 21 to 60). If one spouse became obese, the likelihood that the other spouse would become obese increased by 37% (95% CI, 7 to 73). These effects were not seen among neighbors in the immediate geographic location. Persons of the same sex had relatively greater influence on each other than those of the opposite sex. The spread of smoking cessation did not account for the spread of obesity in the network. Network phenomena appear to be relevant to the biologic and behavioral trait of obesity, and obesity appears to spread through social ties. These findings have implications for clinical and public health interventions.
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    A theoretical framework is developed to explain how parent/adult child relationships affect adult children's and parents' psychological distress levels. Data from a 1986 national survey (n = 3,618) are analyzed to test hypotheses derived from this framework. Results show that (a) the quality of intergenerational relationships appears to be influenced by the structural circumstances of parents and adult children—especially as defined by divorced status, gender, and age; (b) the negative aspects of intergenerational relationships are more strongly associated with psychological distress of parents and adult children than are the positive aspects; and (c) the estimated effects of intergenerational relationships on distress levels sometimes depend on the structural circumstances of parents and children.
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    This article reports the development and validation of a scale to measure global life satisfaction, the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Among the various components of subjective well-being, the SWLS is narrowly focused to assess global life satisfaction and does not tap related constructs such as positive affect or loneliness. The SWLS is shown to have favorable psychometric properties, including high internal consistency and high temporal reliability. Scores on the SWLS correlate moderately to highly with other measures of subjective well-being, and correlate predictably with specific personality characteristics. It is noted that the SWLS is suited for use with different age groups, and other potential uses of the scale are discussed.
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    Importance Couples are highly concordant for unhealthy behaviors, and a change in one partner’s health behavior is often associated with a change in the other partner’s behavior. However, no studies have explicitly compared the influence of having a partner who takes up healthy behavior (eg, quits smoking) with one whose behavior is consistently healthy (eg, never smokes).Objective To examine the influence of partner’s behavior on making positive health behavior changes.Design, Setting, and Participants We used prospective data from married and cohabiting couples (n, 3722) participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a large population-based cohort of older adults (≥50 years). Studying men and women who had unhealthy behaviors in 3 domains at baseline (ie, smoking, physically inactive, or overweight/obese), we used logistic regression analysis to examine the influence of the partner’s behavior in the same domain on the odds of positive health behavior change over time.Main Outcomes and Measures Smoking cessation, increased physical activity, and 5% weight loss or greater.Results Across all domains, we found that when one partner changed to a healthier behavior (newly healthy), the other partner was more likely to make a positive health behavior change than if their partner remained unhealthy (smoking: men 48% vs 8%, adjusted odds ratio [OR], 11.82 [95% CI, 4.84-28.90]; women 50% vs 8%, OR, 11.23 [4.58-27.52]) (physical activity: men 67% vs 26%, OR, 5.28 [3.70-7.54]; women 66% vs 24%, OR, 5.36 [3.74-7.68]) (weight loss: men 26% vs 10%, OR, 3.05 [1.96-4.74]; women 36% vs 15%, OR, 3.08 [1.98-4.80]). For smoking and physical activity, having a consistently healthy partner also predicted positive change, but for each domain, the odds were significantly higher in individuals with a newly healthy partner than those with a consistently healthy partner (smoking: men OR, 3.08 [1.43-6.62]; women OR, 5.45 [2.44-12.16]) (physical activity: men OR, 1.92 [1.37-2.70]; women OR, 1.84 [1.33-2.53]) (weight loss: men OR, 2.28 [1.36-3.84]; women OR, 2.86 [1.55-5.26]).Conclusions and Relevance Men and women are more likely to make a positive health behavior change if their partner does too, and with a stronger effect than if the partner had been consistently healthy in that domain. Involving partners in behavior change interventions may therefore help improve outcomes.
  • Article
    You marry your spouse "for better, for worse" and "for richer, for poorer," but does your choice of partner make you richer or poorer? It is unknown whether people's dispositional characteristics can seep into their spouses' workplace. Using a representative, longitudinal sample of married individuals (N = 4,544), we examined whether Big Five personality traits of participants' spouses related to three measures of participants' occupational success: job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of being promoted. For both male and female participants, partner conscientiousness predicted future job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of promotion, even after accounting for participants' conscientiousness. These associations occurred because more conscientious partners perform more household tasks, exhibit more pragmatic behaviors that their spouses are likely to emulate, and promote a more satisfying home life, enabling their spouses to focus more on work. These results demonstrate that the dispositional characteristics of the person one marries influence important aspects of one's professional life.
  • Article
    The authors examined associations between marital quality and both general life satisfaction and experienced (momentary) well-being among older husbands and wives, the relative importance of own versus spouse's marital appraisals for well-being, and the extent to which the association between own marital appraisals and well-being is moderated by spouse's appraisals. Data are from the 2009 Disability and Use of Time daily diary supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (N = 722). One's own marital satisfaction is a sizable and significant correlate of life satisfaction and momentary happiness; associations do not differ significantly by gender. The authors did not find a significant association between spouse's marital appraisals and own well-being. However, the association between husband's marital quality and life satisfaction is buoyed when his wife also reports a happy marriage, yet flattened when his wife reports low marital quality. Implications for understanding marital dynamics and well-being in later life are discussed.
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    Although we interact with a wide network of people on a daily basis, the social psychology literature has primarily focused on interactions with close friends and family. The present research tested whether subjective well-being is related not only to interactions with these strong ties but also to interactions with weak social ties (i.e., acquaintances). In Study 1, students experienced greater happiness and greater feelings of belonging on days when they interacted with more classmates than usual. Broadening the scope in Studies 2A and 2B to include all daily interactions (with both strong and weak ties), we again found that weak ties are related to social and emotional well-being. The current results highlight the power of weak ties, suggesting that even social interactions with the more peripheral members of our social networks contribute to our well-being.
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    The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a nationally representative longitudinal survey of more than 37 000 individuals over age 50 in 23 000 households in the USA. The survey, which has been fielded every 2 years since 1992, was established to provide a national resource for data on the changing health and economic circumstances associated with ageing at both individual and population levels. Its multidisciplinary approach is focused on four broad topics—income and wealth; health, cognition and use of healthcare services; work and retirement; and family connections. HRS data are also linked at the individual level to administrative records from Social Security and Medicare, Veteran’s Administration, the National Death Index and employer-provided pension plan information. Since 2006, data collection has expanded to include biomarkers and genetics as well as much greater depth in psychology and social context. This blend of economic, health and psychosocial information provides unprecedented potential to study increasingly complex questions about ageing and retirement. The HRS has been a leading force for rapid release of data while simultaneously protecting the confidentiality of respondents. Three categories of data—public, sensitive and restricted—can be accessed through procedures described on the HRS website (hrsonline.isr.umich.edu).
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    Using the 1980 to 2002 General Social Survey, a repeated cross-sectional study that has been linked to the National Death Index through 2008, this study examines the changing relationship between self-rated health and mortality. Research has established that self-rated health has exceptional predictive validity with respect to mortality, but this validity may be deteriorating in light of the rapid medicalization of seemingly superficial conditions and increasingly high expectations for good health. Yet the current study shows the validity of self-rated health is increasing over time. Individuals are apparently better at assessing their health in 2002 than they were in 1980 and, for this reason, the relationship between self-rated health and mortality is considerably stronger across all levels of self-rated health. Several potential mechanisms for this increase are explored. More schooling and more cognitive ability increase the predictive validity of self-rated health, but neither of these influences explains the growing association between self-rated health and mortality. The association is also invariant to changing causes of death, including a decline in accidental deaths, which are, by definition, unanticipated by the individual. Using data from the final two waves of data, we find suggestive evidence that exposure to more health information is the driving force, but we also show that the source of information is very important. For example, the relationship between self-rated health and mortality is smaller among those who use the internet to find health information than among those who do not.
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    We examined potential nonlinear links between age and subjective well-being, and the interpersonal processes (i.e., support, conflict) responsible for such links. One hundred forty-four men and women between the ages of 30–70 completed measures of satisfaction with life, social support (interpersonal support evaluation list), and social negativity (test of negative social exchanges). Nonlinear regression analyses revealed a significant quadratic trend between age and satisfaction with life (SWL, p = .01) where age was associated with lower SWL in the young to middle-aged sample, but higher SWL in the middle-age to older adult sample. Analyses further revealed that interpersonal tensions statistically mediated the nonlinear links between age and SWL. These data suggest that negative interpersonal exchanges may be important contributors to well-being at midlife.
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    Friends foster self-esteem and a sense of well-being, socialize one another, and support one another in coping with developmental transitions and life stress. Friends engage in different activities with one another across the life span, but friendship is conceived similarly by children and adults. Friends and friendships, however, are not all alike. The developmental significance of having friends depends on the characteristics of the friends, especially whether the friends are antisocial or socially withdrawn. Outcomes also depend on whether friendships are supportive and intimate or fractious and unstable. Among both children and adults, friendships have clear-cut developmental benefits at times but are mixed blessings at other times.
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    In 1971 it was hypothesised that intergenerational value changes were taking place. More than a generation has passed since then, and today it seems clear that the predicted changes have occurred. A large body of evidence, analysed using three different approaches – (1) cohort analysis; (2) comparisons of rich and poor countries; (3) examination of actual trends observed over the past 35 years – all points to the conclusion that major cultural changes are occurring, and that they reflect a process of intergenerational change linked with rising levels of existential security.
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    The goals of this study were to (i) examine the association of social support and strain with psychological well-being and health, (ii) investigate whether these associations depended on relationship-type (partner, family, friend), (iii) examine the buffering effects of support on strain (both within and across relationship-type), and (iv) test the extent to which these associations differed by age and sex. The sample contained 2,348 adults (55% male) aged 25 to 75 years (M � 46.3), who were married or cohabitating. Positive and negative social exchanges were more strongly related to psychological well- being than to health. For both sexes, partner support and strain and family support were predictive of well-being measures; partner strain was also predictive of health prob- lems. However, family strain was predictive of well-being and health outcomes more often for women. Further, while we did find evidence that supportive networks could buffer the detri- mental effects of strained interactions, friends and family served a buffering role more often for women than for men.
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    Beginning with Version 11, SPSS implemented the MIXED procedure, which is capable of performing many common hierarchical linear model analyses. The purpose of this article was to provide a tutorial for performing cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses using this popular software platform. In doing so, the authors borrowed heavily from Singer’s overview of SAS PROC MIXED, duplicating her analyses using the SPSS MIXED procedure.
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    Objectives: It has been considered a fact that informal social activities promote well-being in old age, irrespective of whether they are performed with friends or family members. Fundamental differences in the relationship quality between family members (obligatory) and friends (voluntary), however, suggest differential effects on well-being. Further, age-related changes in networks suggest age-differential effects of social activities on well-being, as older adults cease emotionally detrimental relationships. Method: Longitudinal representative national survey study with middle-aged (n = 2,830) and older adults (n = 2,032). Age-differential effects of activities with family members and friends on changes in life satisfaction, positive affect (PA), and negative affect (NA) were examined in latent change score models. Results: In the middle-aged group, activities with friends and families increased PA and life satisfaction and were unrelated to NA. In the older age group, family activities increased both PA and NA and were unrelated to changes in life satisfaction, but activities with friends increased PA and life satisfaction and decreased NA. Discussion: Social activities differentially affect different facets of well-being. These associations change with age. In older adults, the effects of social activities with friends may become more important and may act as a buffer against negative effects of aging.
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    Objectives: Health psychology has contributed significantly to understanding the link between psychological factors and health and well-being, but it has not often incorporated advances in relationship science into hypothesis generation and study design. We present one example of a theoretical model, following from a major relationship theory (attachment theory) that integrates relationship constructs and processes with biopsychosocial processes and health outcomes. Method: We briefly describe attachment theory and present a general framework linking it to dyadic relationship processes (relationship behaviors, mediators, and outcomes) and health processes (physiology, affective states, health behavior, and health outcomes). We discuss the utility of the model for research in several health domains (e.g., self-regulation of health behavior, pain, chronic disease) and its implications for interventions and future research. Results: This framework revealed important gaps in knowledge about relationships and health. Future work in this area will benefit from taking into account individual differences in attachment, adopting a more explicit dyadic approach, examining more integrated models that test for mediating processes, and incorporating a broader range of relationship constructs that have implications for health. Conclusions: A theoretical framework for studying health that is based in relationship science can accelerate progress by generating new research directions designed to pinpoint the mechanisms through which close relationships promote or undermine health. Furthermore, this knowledge can be applied to develop more effective interventions to help individuals and their relationship partners with health-related challenges.
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    Background Self-rated health (SRH), a subjective assessment of health status, is extensively used in the public health field. However, whether SRH can reflect the objective health status is still debatable. We aim to reveal the relationship between SRH and objective health status in the general population. Methods We assessed the relationship between SRH and objective health status by examining the prevalence of diseases, laboratory parameters, and some health-related factors in different SRH groups. Data were collected from 18,000 residents randomly sampled from the general population in five cities of China (3,600 in each city). SRH was assessed by a single-item health measure with five options: “very good,” “good,” “fair,” “bad,” and “very bad.” The differences in prevalence of diseases, laboratory parameters, and health-related factors between the “healthy” (very good plus good), “relatively healthy” (fair), and “unhealthy” (bad plus very bad) groups were examined. The odds ratios (ORs) referenced by the healthy group were calculated using logistic regression analysis. Results The prevalence of all diseases was associated with poorer SRH. The tendency was more prominent in cardio-cerebral vascular diseases, visual impairment, and mental illnesses with larger ORs. Residents with abnormalities in laboratory parameters tended to have poorer SRH, with ORs ranging from 1.62 (for triglyceride) to 3.48 (for hemoglobin among men) in a comparison of the unhealthy and healthy groups. Most of the health-related factors regarded as risks were associated with poorer SRH. Among them, life and work pressure, poor spiritual status, and poor quality of interpersonal relationships were the most significant factors. Conclusions SRH is consistent with objective health status and can serve as a global measure of health status in the general population.
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    This study used multiple methods to examine group processes (information sharing, morale building, planning, critical evaluation, commitment, monitoring, and cooperation) that mediate the effect of relationship level on group performance. The study uses a 2 by 2 experimental design, crossing relationship (friendship vs. acquaintance) as a between-subjects variable and task type (decision making vs. motor) as a within-subject variable. Fifty-three 3-person groups participated in the study, and data from 4 types of measurement were used to analyze the mediating processes between relationship level and task performance. Friendship groups performed significantly better than acquaintance groups on both decision-making and motor tasks because of a greater degree of group commitment and cooperation. Critical evaluation and task monitoring also significantly increased decision-making performance, whereas positive communication mediated the relationship between friendship and motor task performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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    Until recently, it was widely held that happiness fluctuates around set points, so that neither individuals nor societies can lastingly increase their happiness. Even though recent research showed that some individuals move enduringly above or below their set points, this does not refute the idea that the happiness levels of entire societies remain fixed. Our article, however, challenges this idea: Data from representative national surveys carried out from 1981 to 2007 show that happiness rose in 45 of the 52 countries for which substantial time-series data were available. Regression analyses suggest that that the extent to which a society allows free choice has a major impact on happiness. Since 1981, economic development, democratization, and increasing social tolerance have increased the extent to which people perceive that they have free choice, which in turn has led to higher levels of happiness around the world, as the human development model suggests. © 2008 Association for Psychological Science.
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    People are interconnected, and so their health is interconnected. In recognition of this social fact, there has been growing conceptual and empirical attention over the past decade to the impact of social networks on health. This article reviews prominent findings from this literature. After drawing a distinction between social network studies and social support studies, we explore current research on dyadic and supradyadic network influences on health, highlighting findings from both egocen-tric and sociocentric analyses. We then discuss the policy implications of this body of work, as well as future research directions. We conclude that the existence of social networks means that people's health is inter-dependent and that health and health care can transcend the individual in ways that patients, doctors, policy makers, and researchers should care about.
  • Article
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