Social Networks in Adult Life, 1980: [United States] (ICPSR 9254)

Published: Apr 9, 1993

Principal Investigator(s):
Robert L. Kahn; Toni C. Antonucci

Version V1

These data were gathered to provide information on Kahn and Antonucci's life-span developmental model, "convoys of social support," which explores interpersonal relationships over time. Older adults (aged 50+) were interviewed on their health status, labor force status, and other demographic characteristics, and on the composition and degree of closeness of members of their current support network (e.g., spouses, children, friends). Three concentric circles of closeness were defined, varying in terms of transcendence of the relationship beyond role requirements, stability over the life span, and exchange of many different types of support (confiding, reassurance, respect, care when ill, discussion when upset, and talk about health). The principal respondents named a total of 6,341 network members, ranging in age from 18 to 96 years. Detailed structural and functional characteristics were collected from the principal respondents on the first ten named members of each support network. Similar interviews were then conducted with one to three network members of those 259 principal respondents who were 70+ years old. Two data files are provided: Part 1 contains merged data from the interviews of both the principal respondents aged 70+ and their network members, and Part 2 contains data from the principal respondents aged 50+.

Kahn, Robert L., and Antonucci, Toni C. Social Networks in Adult Life, 1980: [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1993-04-09.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (AG01632-01-04)



The age distribution of the 718 principal respondents was 50-64 years (N = 333), 65-74 years (N = 227), and 75-95 years (N = 158).

Multistage national probability sample of households with at least one member aged 50 years or older and an oversampling of all household members aged 70 years or older. Additionally, up to three network members were interviewed for each of the respondents aged 70+ (as well as one child and one grandchild if not already named), for a total of 497 network members. There was some overlap between principal respondents and network members: 102 network members were also principal respondents, and 40 were named by more than one principal respondent.

Persons 50 years and older in households of the United States.

personal interviews

survey data



1993-04-09 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

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This study is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), the aging program within ICPSR. NACDA is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH).