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Social contacts and receipt of help among older people in England: are there benefits of having more children?

Grundy, Emily ORCID: 0000-0002-9633-1116 and Read, Sanna (2012) Social contacts and receipt of help among older people in England: are there benefits of having more children? Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 67 (6). pp. 742-754. ISSN 1079-5014

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Identification Number: 10.1093/geronb/gbs082


Objectives. To investigate whether number of children and, among parents, having a daughter is associated with older people’s likelihood of at least weekly face-to-face social contact and later receipt of help if needed. Method. Multivariate analysis of data from Waves 1 and 2 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Results. Older parents in England had higher chances of at least weekly face-to-face social contact than their childless counterparts but larger family size had only a slight additional effect. For parents, having at least one daughter was more important than number of children. Larger family size was positively associated with receipt of help from a child by parents with activities of daily living (ADL) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) limitations. Childless women were more likely than mothers to receive help from friends but even so had lower odds of receiving help from any informal source. Contact with a child in 2002 predicted receipt of help 2 years later. Discussion. These results show some advantages for older parents compared with childless individuals in terms of social contact and receipt of help and, among parents, an additional effect of having a daughter. Changes in family size distributions have implications for the support of older people and for planners of formal services.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2012 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.
Divisions: Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2013 12:56
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 06:12

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