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J Gerontol. 1994 Nov;49(6):S309-17.

Sibling support in older age.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, University of Western Ontario.


Data from a multi-stage quota sample which includes 528 respondents aged 55 and over with at least one living sibling are used to examine instrumental support (financial, help during illness, other) from siblings, the perception of siblings as a source of support if needed (in a crisis, long-term illness, coresidence), and the characteristics of respondents and their sibling networks associated with receiving help and perceiving help to be available. A minority of respondents have received sibling support, and a majority perceive siblings to be available in a crisis. Those with two or more siblings are more likely to have received help and to perceive siblings as available than those with one sibling. Significant differences by gender, marital status, parent status, and geographic proximity are discussed with reference to models of support, particularly the functional-specificity of relationships model.

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