The Social Network of the Filipino Older People

by Cristabel Rose F. Parcon, Master of Arts in Demography (October 2005)

The objectives of this study are to understand the dynamics of the social network of the Filipino older persons in terms of its structure and content, and to determine the influence of the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the elderly on their network types. The study utilizes the 1996 Philippine Elderly Survey of the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI). Due to data limitation, the social network of the elderly is limited to their spouse, children, parents, siblings and grandchildren.

The network structure is examined by size, composition and geographic dispersion of the network members, while the network content is analyzed by the frequency of interaction between the elderly and their network members and their support intensity. The study focuses on the frequency of the interaction and support exchanges that the quality of these interactions and exchanges are beyond the scope of the study. Two indices of social network, both considering the aspects of network structure and content, were created. These are: (1) Support Relations, defined by the support intensity and composition of the network; and (2) Family Embeddedness, characterized by the geographic dispersion and interaction between the elderly and network members.

Crosstabulations were done in order to determine the differences in the network features and network types by background characteristics of the elderly. Multinomial logistic regression was employed to establish the determinants of the social network of the older people, and then the odds were converted into proportions using the MCA Table. Results show that the young-old, male, high school educated and healthy elderly have better and more favorable network types compared to their respective counterparts. The place of residence of the elderly does not affect their support relations and family embeddedness.