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Psychol Aging. 2000 Jun;15(2):187-224.

Influences of socioeconomic status, social network, and competence on subjective well-being in later life: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Developmental Psychology, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany.


Meta-analysis is used to synthesize findings from 286 empirical studies on the association of socioeconomic status (SES), social network, and competence with subjective well-being (SWB) in the elderly. All three aspects of life circumstances are positively associated with SWB. Income is correlated more strongly with well-being than is education. The quality of social contacts shows stronger associations with SWB than does the quantity of social contacts. Whereas having contact with friends is more strongly related to SWB than having contact with adult children, there are higher associations between life satisfaction and quality of contact with adult children when compared with quality of friendships. Moderating influences of gender and age on the effects of SES, social network, and competence on SWB are also investigated.

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