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Structural Constraints on Friendships in Old Age
Zena Smith Blau
American Sociological Review
Vol. 26, No. 3 (Jun., 1961), pp. 429-439
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2090670
Page Count: 11
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The effects that widowhood or retirement have on the friendships of older people were found to vary with the prevalence of these changes in status within the age, sex, and class structure in which the individual is located. In those groups where widowhood and retirement are relatively rare either change in status places the individual in a deviant position among his peers, differentiates his interests and experiences from those of his associates, and thereby exerts a detrimental effect on friendships. In those structural contexts, however, where these changes in status are prevalent, it is the still married or employed individual who occupies a deviant position in relation to his peers and whose social life therefore tends to become more restricted.
American Sociological Review © 1961 American Sociological Association