Lynne C. Giles:Flinders University, Australia, Lynne.Giles@rgh.sa.gov.au
Patricia A. Metcalf:The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Gary F. V. Glonek:The University of Adelaide, Australia
Mary A. Luszcz: Flinders University, Australia
Gary R. Andrews:Flinders University, Australia
Objective: To investigate the effects of total social networks and specific social net-works with children, relatives, friends, and confidants on disability in mobility and Nagi functional tasks. Methods: Six waves of data from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing were used. Data came from 1,477 participants aged 70 years or older. The effects of total social networks and those with children, relatives, friends, and confidants on transitions in disability status were analyzed using binary and multinomial logistic regression. Results: After controlling for a range of health, environmental, and personal factors, social networks with relatives were protective against developing mobility disability (OR = 0.89; 95% CI = 0.79 to 1.00) and Nagi disability (OR = 0.85; 95% CI = 0.74 to 0.96). Other social subnetworks did not have a consistent effect on the development of disability. Discussion: The effects of social relationships extend beyond disability in activities of daily living. Networks with relatives protect against disability in mobility and Nagi tasks.
Key Words: transitions � Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing � activity limitations � disability � social networks