Friendship in Later Life: A Research Agenda

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Oxford University Press


Friendship is a relationship that can endure across the entire lifespan, serving a vital role for sustaining social connectedness in late life when other relationships may become unavailable. This article begins with a description of the importance of studying friendship in late life and the benefits of friendship for older adults, pointing to the value of additional research for enhancing knowledge about this crucial bond. Next is discussion of theoretical approaches for conceptualizing friendship research, followed by identification of emerging areas of late-life friendship research and novel questions that investigators could explore fruitfully. We include a presentation of innovative research methods and existing national and international data sets that can advance late-life friendship research using large samples and cross-national comparisons. The final section advocates for development and assessment of interventions aimed at improving friendship and reducing social isolation among older adults.



Friendship data sets, Friendship in old age, Friendship interventions, Friendship processes, Friendship research methods, Friendship structure, Friendship theory