Aging and Social Integration: A Data-Driven Learning Guide
Goal & Concept
The goal of this exercise is to explore the ways in which age, social integration, and well-being are related. Crosstabulation and comparison of means will be used.
Well-being at older ages is of major concern to social scientists, and social integration appears to play a key role in well-being.
Social integration can be generally understood as the presence of strong social ties, or roles, which connect individuals with other individuals or groups. For this exercise, social integration will be operationalized two ways: living alone or with others and community participation.
Researchers define well-being in many ways, including dimensions of physical, psychological, and social health. In the study of aging, psychological and social well-being are often measured using self-rated life satisfaction, measures of happiness, or series of questions measuring depression. This exercise will focus on a dimension of well-being related to social integration: feelings of loneliness.
Examples of possible research questions about aging, social integration, and well-being:
- Are older adults more or less likely to be socially integrated than others?
- Which age groups are most likely to live alone?
- Which age groups are most likely to volunteer or participate in community organizations?
- Do people who live alone experience loneliness more often than others?
- Do older adults who participate in the community experience less loneliness than those who do not participate?
CITATION: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Aging and Social Integration: A Data-Driven Learning Guide. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-04-16. Doi:10.3886/agingintegration
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