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Social support network typologies and health outcomes of older people in low and middle income countries -: A 10/66 Dementia Research Group population-based study

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JournalInternational review of psychiatry
DatePublished - Aug 2014
Issue number4
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)476-85
Original languageEnglish


This study aims to assess the construct validity of the Wenger social support network typology in low and middle income countries. We hypothesize that, in comparison with the integrated network type, the non-integrated network type is associated with loneliness, depression, poor quality of life (less happiness), poor self-reported health, increased disability and higher care needs. Cross-sectional one-phase surveys were conducted of all residents aged 65 and over in catchment areas in eight low and middle income countries (India, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico). Wenger's Practitioner Assessment of Network Type (PANT) was used to measure social network type. Family dependent, local self-contained, wider community-focused and private restricted network types were considered non-integrated, in comparison to the locally integrated network type. Overall, 17,031 participants were interviewed. Family dependent and locally integrated network types were the most prevalent. Adjusted pooled estimates across sites showed that loneliness, depression, less happiness, poor health, disability, and need for care were significantly associated with non-integrated network type. The findings of this study support the construct validity of Wenger's network typology in low and middle income countries. However, further research is required to test the criterion validity of Wenger typology using longitudinal data. Identifying older people who are vulnerable could inform the development of social care interventions to support older people and their families in the context of deteriorating health.

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