ERIC Number: ED230892
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Emotional Closeness and Physical Distance between Friends: Implications for Elderly Women.
Adams, Rebecca G.
A recent concern with the informal support systems of elderly people has focused on the ways in which the eldery live independently with the help of others, primarily the family. In order to explore the dimensions of social space (emotional closeness, and physical distance) as they relate to friendship, elderly, unmarried women (N=70) living in a suburban metropolitan area participated in tape recorded interviews. Data analyses indicated that, contrary to expectation, greater physical distance correlated positively with emotional closeness. In addition, duration of friendship correlated positively with emotional closeness, and frequency of interaction correlated positivley with proximity. Using Simmel's approach to the study of social relationships, the data were collapsed into four categories: (1) emotionally and physically close; (2) emotionally distant and physically close; (3) emotionally close and physically distant; and (4) emotionally and physically distant. Further analysis indicated that emotionally close, local friends were most likely to help the elderly individual and improve her psychological well-being. Since only 60% of the respondents had emotionally close, local friends, future research could focus on the importance of other types of friendships. (AG)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (35th, Boston, MA, November 19-23, 1983). Best copy available.