Balance in social support exchange and discontinuation of young-old’s personal relationships in three birth cohorts

Bianca Suanet*, Theo G. van Tilburg

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Societal changes and an increase in personal resources are likely to have an impact on the personal relationships of cohorts coming of age. We expect that, in recent times, (1) relationships more often strike a balance in exchanged instrumental and emotional support and (2) relationships are discontinued more often when there is no balance in exchanged instrumental and emotional support, particularly among nonkin. We compare three birth cohorts from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, aged 55–64 years at baseline (early cohort: born in 1928–1937, interviewed in 1992; middle cohort: born in 1938–1947, interviewed in 2002; late cohort: born in 1948–1957, interviewed in 2012). The results indicate that, in the middle and late birth cohorts, personal relationships are more often characterized by a balance in social support exchanges compared to the early cohort. No cohort differences in the effect of balance on relationship discontinuation are observed. The results suggest increased opportunities and preferences of young-olds to maintain balance in their personal relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3371–3388
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume36
Issue number11-12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Cohort differences
  • individualization
  • relationship maintenance
  • social change
  • social support
  • sociology

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