RINGEL, ALAN RICHARD; MSN

                         MGH INSTITUTE OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS, 1993

                         HEALTH SCIENCES, NURSING (0569); GERONTOLOGY (0351); SOCIOLOGY, DEMOGRAPHY (0938)

                         This is a qualitative descriptive study of how the elderly perceive their physical health to be affected by
                         their social network both currently and over the course of their lifetime. The study utilized a convenience
                         sample of 7 individuals who reside in a subsidized apartment complex. Each subject completed a
                         demographic questionnaire, and was then interviewed for 35-45 minutes using a set of guiding
                         questions. Data was subjected to content analysis for identifying emerging themes and categories. Six
                         themes and two categories were identified. The significance of the emergent themes for particular
                         subjects was examined with respect to demographic differences within the sample population. It was
                         concluded that the subjects were largely unaware of or denied a relationship between any qualities of
                         their social network and positive physical health. One subject who was familiar with the effects of
                         interpersonal stress identified aspects of the social network as being potentially harmful to her health.
                         Subjects could identify both positive and negative effects of relationships on their sense of emotional


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