Continuation of exchange with neighbors in later life: The importance of the neighborhood context.

ABSTRACT. Relationships with neighbors are considered exchange relationships, in which the continuation of exchanges depends on balance in previous exchanges. Our study tested whether this is the case. An exchange relationship implies that neighbor relationships are isolated units. We expected, however, that neighborhood integration also affects the continuation of exchange among neighbors. Data were from a longitudinal study among 1,692 independently living Dutch adults of ages 55 to 85 years at baseline and their 7,415 relationships with proximate network members. At a four-year follow-up, both perceived balance and neighborhood integration at baseline increased the chance of instrumental support exchange occurring. We concluded that it is too limited to view relationships between neighbors as exchange relationships, as these relationships are embedded in larger communities, where such communities exist.