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J Gerontol. 1986 Jan;41(1):94-100.

Aged blacks' choices for an informal helper network.


Research on the support networks of impaired elderly adults suggests that membership in sociodemographic subgroups influences use of specific informal helpers. This study explored the relationships of sociodemographic, health, and family factors to informal helper choice among a nationally representative sample (N = 581) of older (55 years and above) blacks (National Survey of Black Americans). Nine categories of helpers were examined: spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, friend, and neighbor. Logistic regression analyses revealed that marital status is important in selecting the categories of sister, friend, and neighbor. Presence of children decreased the likelihood that siblings and friends would be chosen. Perceived family closeness facilitated the selection of siblings but inhibited the choice of friends. Regional differences suggest a greater likelihood of selecting the categories of sister, friend, and neighbor among Southern residents.

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