Support provided by elderly in Italy: a hierarchical analysis of ego networks controlling for alter–overlapping

Giulia Rivellini, Emanuela Furfaro, Elvira Pelle, Susanna Zaccarin

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


Providing support outside the household can be considered an actual sign of an active social life for the elderly. Adopting an ego–network perspective, we study support Italian elders provide to kin or non–kin. More specifically, using Italian survey data, we build the ego–centered networks of social contacts elders entertain and the ego–networks of support elders provide to other non–cohabitant kin or non–kin. Since ego–network data are inherently multilevel, we use Bayesian multilevel models to analyze variation in support ties, controlling for the characteristics of elders and their contacts. This modeling strategy enables dealing with sparseness and alter–alter overlap in the ego support network data and to disentangle the effects related to the ego (the elder), the dyad ego–alter, the kind of support provided, as well as social contacts and contextual variables. The results suggest that the elderly in Italy who provide support outside their household — compared to all elders in the sample — are younger, healthier, more educated, and embedded in a more diversified ego–network of social contacts. The latter also conveys both the type and the recipient of the support, with the elderly who entertain few relationships with kin being more prone to provide aid to non–kin. Further, a “peer homophily” effect in directing elder support to a non–kin is also found.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-26
Numero di pagine26
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Active ageing
  • Bayesian multilevel models
  • Ego–centered support network
  • Social support


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