Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Soc Work. 1999 Nov;44(6):522-33.

Friendship and social support: the importance of role identity to aging adults.

Author information

  • 1School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27599-3550, USA.


This article proposes role identity theory as a means of integrating the diverse frameworks and findings that populate the social support literature, and it highlights the importance of the friendship role on life satisfaction for aging adults. A sample of 800 preretirement-age working men and women were surveyed as part of a longitudinal study, Roles and Self: Factors in Development and Retirement. The results include differences in social support by gender, no significant influence of structural support variables, and the significant effect of the role of friendship on respondents' life satisfaction. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that commitment to the role of friend is significant in predicting life satisfaction when controlling for background variables, and friendship identity meanings emerged as the strongest predictor--stronger than income or marital status--when predicting well-being. Integration of theory with current and previous research, implications for practice, and directions for future research are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk