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Social Networks and Health Status: A Longitudinal Analysis
Melvin Seeman, Teresa Seeman and Marnie Sayles
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 48, No. 3 (Sep., 1985), pp. 237-248
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3033684
Page Count: 12
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Panel data are employed to test the proposition that network engagement, particularly in conjunction with a high sense of control (vs. powerlessness), is associated with favorable health behavior. Field interviews were conducted with a representative sample of Los Angeles County in 1976 and again in 1977, with intervening systematic telephone call-backs to monitor self-rated health status, illness management, and preventive health activities. Two forms of network engagement ("instrumental support" and "consultation"), and two powerlessness factors ("personal mastery" and "general control") are distinguished. On the whole, (1) integration in a "support" network is modestly associated with positive health; (2) "consultation" networks are less sanguine (e.g., such engagement goes with less preventive health behavior); (3) the two sense-of-control indices are independently related to favorable health; and (4) the poorest health is associated with a combination of low support and low sense of control. The findings are interpreted in their bearing on the Durkheimian thesis concerning the buffering effect of social integration and related alienation processes.
Social Psychology Quarterly © 1985 American Sociological Association