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Childlessness and Social Isolation among the Elderly

Christine A. Bachrach
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 42, No. 3 (Aug., 1980), pp. 627-637
DOI: 10.2307/351906
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351906
Page Count: 11
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Childlessness and Social Isolation among the Elderly
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Abstract

Data from a national probability sample of persons 65 and older are used to explore the relationship between number of living children and social isolation in old age. Two indicators of social isolation are employed: (1) whether respondent lives alone; and (2), for those living alone, whether social contacts with friends, neighbors, or relatives have occurred in the past day or two. For both measures, a substantial association between number of children and isolation is observed. Childlessness has a particularly powerful effect on the probability of isolation, but this effect is strongly conditioned by the health and occupational class of the elderly person.

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