Background: This paper has two objectives. Firstly, it provides an overview of the social network module, data collection procedures, and measurement of ego-centric and complete-network properties in the Korean Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (KSHAP). Secondly, it directly compares the KSHAP structure and results to the ego-centric network structure and results of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), which conducted in-home interviews with 3,005 persons 57 to 85 years of age in the United States. Methods: The structure of the complete social network of 814 KSHAP respondents living in Township K was measured and examined at two levels of networks. Ego-centric network properties include network size, composition, volume of contact with network members, density, and bridging potential. Complete-network properties are degree centrality, closeness centrality, betweenness centrality, and brokerage role. Results: We found that KSHAP respondents with a smaller number of social network members were more likely to be older and tended to have poorer self-rated health. Compared to the NSHAP, the KSHAP respondents maintained a smaller network size with a greater network density among their members and lower bridging potential. Further analysis of the complete network properties of KSHAP respondents revealed that more brokerage roles inside the same neighborhood (Ri) were significantly associated with better self-rated health. Socially isolated respondents identified by network components had the worst self-rated health. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate the importance of social network analysis for the study of older adults' health status in Korea. The study also highlights the importance of complete-network data and its ability to reveal mechanisms beyond ego-centric network data.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study is supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2011-330-B00137) and by a grant from the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI13C0715).
© 2014 Youm et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology