Sarah E. DeAnna The Ohio State University Most elders are not socially isolated and rely on the support of informal network members in order to successfully age. These central networks are more likely to contain members of one's family than friends. 66 percent of older adults live in a family setting. Over half of those over age 65 live with a partner. Social support can act as a mediator in times of adversity life stress and increase reported well-being overall. Unfavorable interpersonal interactions with close others can negatively impact both physical and mental well-being. Gadalla, 2010; Hooyman & Kiyak, 2010; Krause, 2005; Thomas, 2009 Overall, research shows a decrease in reported negative interaction by older persons versus younger persons. 3 longitudinal studies, 1 cross-sectional However, relational negativity varies by relationship type. Over time relationship negativity tends to decrease but there are some exceptions. Stability in some studies. Spousal relationships. Akiyama, Antonucci, Takahashi, & Langfahl, 2003; Birditt, Jackey, & Antonucci, 2009; Boerner, Reinhardt, Raykov, & Horowitz, 2004; Fingerman & Birditt, 2003; Krause & Rook, 2003 The spousal relationship is the biggest exception to the rule with an increase in negativity with age and over time. Respondents were more likely to report negativity in the spousal relationship than any other relationship. Older adults also have increasing negativity with their parents possibly due to the strains of caregiving. Family relations are likely to be more negative than friendships. A lifespan theory of motivation developed by Stanford psychologist Laura Carstensen in the early 1990s. As people age their perception of future time decreases and they move toward a desire to stabilize and maintain emotionally rewarding relationships Individuals go through a lifelong process of adaptively selecting social partners “to maximize social and emotional gains and minimize social and emotional risks.” Carstensen, 1992; Lang & Carstensen, 2002 Over half of those over age 65 live with a partner. In current research, the spousal relationship was more likely to show increasing rather than decreasing negativity over time and with age. As many as 20 percent of older adult couples report “moderate or strong emotional or social loneliness in their marriage” The strains of caregiving may contribute to unhappiness, as these marriages were more likely to contain a spouse with health problems Hooyman & Kiyak, 2010 Recent efforts in intervention with older adults focus on increasing social integration and support but do not acknowledge that not all socialization will be beneficial for older adults. Although the benefits of social support are widely known, much less is known about the efficacy of support interventions. Inadequate research and practice in recent years has focused on the goals of emotional closeness and fulfillment that socioemotional selectivity theory identifies as important to older adults. Practitioners should not assume that all social encounters or support are going to be beneficial for older adults. Consider the changing social motivations of older adults when developing interventions. Increase interventions aimed at strengthening families. More widespread use of couples counseling with this population. Further research to inform practice. Akiyama, H., Antonucci, T., Takahashi, K., & Langfahl, E. (2003). Negative interactions in close relationships across the life span. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 58(2), P70. Birditt, K., Jackey, L., & Antonucci, T. (2009). Longitudinal patterns of negative relationship quality across adulthood. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 64(1), 55-64. Boerner, K., Reinhardt, J., Raykov, T., & Horowitz, A. (2004). Stability and change in social negativity in later life: Reducing received while maintaining initiated negativity. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 59(4), S230. Carstensen, L. (1992). Social and emotional patterns in adulthood: Support for socioemotional selectivity theory. Psychology and aging, 7, 331–331. Carstensen, L. (2006). The influence of a sense of time on human development. Science, 312(5782), 1913. Fingerman, K & Birditt, K. (2003). Does variation in close and problematic family ties reflect the pool of living relatives? Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 58, P80-P87. Gadalla, T. (2010). The Role of Mastery and Social Support in the Association Between Life Stressors and Psychological Distress in Older Canadians. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 53(6), 512–530. Hooyman, N. & Kiyak, H. (2010). Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective (9th ed.). Prentice Hall. Krause, N. (2005). Negative interaction and heart disease in late life. Journal of Aging and Health, 17(1), 28. Krause, N., & Rook, K. (2003). Negative interaction in late life: Issues in the stability and generalizability of conflict across relationships. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 58(2), P88. Lang, F. & Carstensen, L. (2002). 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