Trends in social relations among 70-year olds

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/ Sociologiska institutionen

Abstract: In recent years there has been an increasing interest in the changing face of ageing. The young-old and the third age has been proposed as new conceptual definitions of healthy post-working and late-life. The objective of this thesis is to analyze changes regarding social relations that can be related to this restructuration of the life-course. Data on social relations from two cohorts from Gothenburg, Sweden, one born in 1901-2 (N=1007) and the other in 1930 (N=486), both examined at age 70 were analyzed. The analyses used latent class analysis to deduct typologies of social relations divided into two spectrums of social relations, frequency and contentment. These typologies associations with covariates; including among others education, five year mortality and relationship status, were then analyzed with binary and multinomial logistic regression. Changes were observed. Primarily these changes were related to a rise in organizational activity, lower levels of social isolation and higher frequencies of mild discontentment with social relations. The typologies of social relations were also structured differently across cohorts. Several obstacles comparing the two cohorts were encountered. Rising expectation on this part of the life-course that is not synchronized with changes in frequency of social relations is proposed as a theoretical explanation for the changes in contentment.

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