Social network

Personal network


LSNa047, LASA047
LSNa247, LASA247

Contact: Theo van Tilburg

Background
Measurement instruments in LASA

   Identification of network members
  Questions on network members and network relationships
  Syntax – computation of network size
  Syntax – computation of support exchanged on the network level

Availability of information per observation
References

Background
Please note that LASA also included data on the contact network. The following pertains to the personal network:

The main objective was to identify a network that reflected the socially active relationships of the older adult in the core as well as the outer layers of the larger network (Van Tilburg, 1998). In choosing a method to identify the personal network, several criteria were applied as regards who was to be included in the network. First, the network composition had to be as varied as possible, implying that all the types of relationships deserved the same chance to be included in the network. This criterion led to a domain-specific approach in the network identification, using seven formal types of relationships (see below). A second objective was to include all the network members the respondent had regular contact with, thus identifying the socially active relationships. Yet, the aim was not to include everybody who was in contact with the older adult. To avoid eliciting persons who were contacted frequently by definition (such as all the respondents' colleagues), the criterion of importance of the relationship was added. Network members were identified in seven domains of the network: household members (including the spouse, if there was one), children and their partners, other relatives, neighbors, colleagues from work (including voluntary work) or school, members of organizations (e.g. athletic clubs, church, political parties), and others (e.g. friends and acquaintances). With respect to the domains, the question was posed: "Name the people (e.g. in your neighborhood) you have frequent contact with and who are also important to you." Only people above the age of 18 could be nominated. A limit of 80 was set on the number of names, but no one reached this limit. Information was gathered on all the identified network members as regards the type of relationship, sex and frequency of contact. For a subset of network members, i.e. the twelve with the highest frequency of contact, questions were posed on their age, travelling time to reach the network member, their marital or partner status, negative aspects within the relationship, and the receiving and giving of instrumental and emotional support.

Measurement instruments in LASA

Identification of network members

General introduction
“During the next part of the interview I would like to obtain information about the people with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you. In succession, I will be asking about (the other member / members of your household,) (your children and the partners they may have,) (other) family members, neighbors, contacts from work or school, contacts from voluntary associations and other organizations, and friends and acquaintances. Not all of these people need to be nominated. We are interested in those with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you. Furthermore, they have to be at least 18 years old. First I will fill in the names of those with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you. Next, I will ask a number of questions about each.”

You as the interviewer, must emphasize the criteria according to which network members are identified: people with whom R is in touch regularly and who are important to him / her. If necessary, repeat these criteria, and formulate them clearly. Also, please pay attention to the age criterion: network members must be at least 18 years old. It is necessary that network members are identified as unique individuals and by name. There are no objections against using initials for privacy reasons. Later on, questions will be asked about the individual network members. For that reason, it necessary that both you and R know who the person involved is. Members of a couple must be identified individually, thus as "Mr. X" and "Mrs. X". The answer "I know so many people" is not acceptable. In that case, ask R "Please will you provide the names of those with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you".

Identification of household members: “I would like to ask a number of questions about those in your household who are at least 18 years old. For that reason, will you please give me the name(s) of (each of) the person(s) aged 18 and over with whom you live?”

Identification of children and their partners: “We would like to know whether you are in touch regularly with (each of) your child(ren) (and his / her partner) (and their partners) and whether she / he (they) is (each are) important to you. If this is the case, will you please give me his / her (their) first name(s) and the first letter of his / her (their) last name(s)?” The children and their partners must be identified individually. Do not simply include all of them in the network.

Identification of other family members: “Next, will you please provide me with the names of those family members with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you? "Family members" are parents and parents-in-law (if they are still alive), siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, in-laws (both on your side of the family and on the side of your partner), aunts and uncles (and grandchildren). They must be at least 18 years old. I would like to have the first name and the first letter of the last name of each.” The family members must be identified individually. Do not simply include all of them in the network.

Identification of neighbors: “Now, please provide me with the names of those neighbors and others living nearby with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you? I would like to have the first name and the first letter of the last name of each.”

Identification of contacts through work and school: “Please provide me with the names of those (ex-) colleagues, and others you know through volunteer work or school with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you. I would like to have the first name and the first letter of the last name of each.”

Identification of members of organizations: “Please provide me with the names of those you meet through church, a sports association, political organizations, and other voluntary associations with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you. I would like to have the first name and the first letter of the last name of each.”

Identification of others: “Perhaps there still are people (friends and acquaintances for example) with whom you are in touch, and who you have not been able to mention in response to earlier questions. Please provide the names of others with whom you are in touch regularly and who are important to you. I would like to have the first name and the first letter of the last name of each.”

(in observation a, b, c, d, e, 2b, f, g) Identification of "forgotten" contacts: “There may be certain family members, neighbors or others with whom you are in touch frequently and who are important to you, but may have forgotten to mention earlier. This is the opportunity to name them as yet. I would like to have the first name and the first letter of the last name of each.”

Questions on network members and network relationships
For each identified network member questions are asked on
- type of the relationship: “What relationship do you have with ...?” Interviewer: Do not ask this question if this information is already available. Just fill in the relationship type. A list with choice of answers, specific for the domain of delineation, was provided to the interviewer. For most domains there was a choice 'other', which was followed by a question to describe the type more specifically.
- sex: “Is ... a male or a female?”
- contact frequency: “How often are you in touch with ...?” Choice of answers: never, once a year or less, few times a year, once a month, once a fortnight, once a week, few times a week, each day.
- (in observation c, d, e, 2b, f, g, h, 3b) confidant: “Which of all the identified persons is your confidant?”
For a selection of the identified network members questions are asked on
- travelling time: “How long does it take you to travel to ..., by means of the way you usually travel?” Answers could be provided in hours and minutes.
- supportive exchanges: “How often did it occur in the last year that ... helped you with daily chores in and around the house, such as prepare meals, clean the house, transportation, small repairs, fill in forms?” “How often did it occur in the last year that you helped ... with daily chores in and around the house, such as prepare meals, clean the house, transportation, small repairs, fill in forms?” “How often did it occur in the last year that you told ... about your personal experiences and feelings?” “How often did it occur in the last year that ... told you about his / her personal experiences and feelings?” Choice of answers: never, seldom, sometimes, often.
- (in observation a and b) marital and partner status: “Is ... sharing living quarters with a partner, and what is his / her official marital status?” In observation a, the choice of answers was: married and living with a partner, widowed and living with a partner, divorced and living with a partner, unmarried and living with a partner, married and not living with a partner, widowed and not living with a partner, divorced and not living with a partner, unmarried and not living with a partner. In observation b, the choice of answers was limited to living with a partner, not living with a partner; the question was adapted.
- (in observation a) age: “How old is ...?” Answers could be provided in years.
- (in observation a) duration of the relationship: “How many years have you known ...?” Answers could be provided in years.
- (in observation a) employment status: “Does ... have a job, and if so, does s / he work full-time or part-time?”
- (in observation a) quarreling: “How often did it occur in the last year that you quarreled with ...?” Choice of answers: never, seldom, sometimes, often.
- (in observation b) most supportive: “By whom of the ... persons about we have asked questions do you feel most supported?

Syntax – computation of network size

get file 'lasaX047.sav'.
compute respnr = truncate(Xnwmem / 100).
aggregate outfile 'lasaX247.sav' / break respnr / Xnwsize = N.

Note: With this syntax respondents who were not able to identify network members (network size = 0) are missing. These cases are added manually on the basis of information gathered in the interview.

Syntax – computation of support exchanged on the network level

get file 'lasaX047.sav'.
compute respnr = truncate(Xnwmem / 100).
select if (Xnwtype <> 1).
select if (Xins_rec >= 0).
compute rank = 1.
if (lag(respnr) = respnr) rank = lag(rank)+1.
select if (rank < 10).
aggregate outfile 'tempir.sav' / break respnr / Xmir = mean(Xins_rec).
get file 'lasaX047.sav'.
select if (Xnwtype = 1).
save outfile 'temppart.sav' / keep respnr Xnwtype.
match files / file 'lasaX247.sav' / file 'tempir.sav' / file 'temppart.sav' / by respnr.
if ((Xnwtype = 1 & Xnwsize = 1) | Xnwsize = 0)Xmir = 0.


Availability of information per observation1 :

 

A*

B

C

D

E


2B*

F

G

H



3B*

MB*

I*
Personal network size Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma    
Relationship type Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma    
Gender Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma    
Contact frequency Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma    
Confidant     Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma    
Travelling time Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma    
Instrumental and
emotional support
received and given
Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma    
Marital and partner status Ma Ma                    
Age Ma                      
Duration of relationship Ma                      
Employment status Ma                      
Quarreling Ma                      
Most supportive   Ma                    

1 More information about the LASA data collection observations is available on:
http://www.lasa-vu.nl/data/lasa/sampleLASAdatacollection.html

*   A = Living arrangements and social networks of older adults (LSN);
   2B = baseline second cohort;
   3B = baseline third cohort;
   MB=migrants: baseline first cohort (Under Construction);
   I=Under Construction

Ma = data was collected in main interview

References

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