Health-Related Social Control Within Older Adults' Relationships

Published in: Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences, v. 57, no. 5, Sep. 2002, p. 387-395

Posted on on January 01, 2002

by Joan S. Tucker

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This study examined the size and composition of older adults' social control networks and investigated behavioral and affective responses to the experience of social control. Social control in the health domain refers to regulatory attempts by others (direct), and feelings of obligation and responsibility to others (indirect), that encourage engagement in a healthy lifestyle. Participants were 181 adults aged 65-80 years who completed a mail survey. On average, older adults reported having 3-5 people in their social network who exerted a positive influence on their health behaviors, with the size and composition of this network varying somewhat by marital and parental statuses. Social control was associated with both positive and negative behavioral and affective responses, depending on both the type of social control (direct vs indirect) and level of relationship satisfaction. Results indicate the importance of better understanding the conditions under which social relationships have beneficial versus detrimental effects on the well-being of older adults.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.