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Understanding the friendship networks of older Black and Minority Ethnic people living in the United Kingdom

Hayanga, B; Kneale, D; Phoenix, A; (2020) Understanding the friendship networks of older Black and Minority Ethnic people living in the United Kingdom. Ageing & Society 10.1017/S0144686X19001624. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Older Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people living in the United Kingdom (UK) are vulnerable to the experiences of social isolation and loneliness. Despite this, it is widely assumed that they adhere to traditional family practices and living arrangements that protect them from social isolation and loneliness. Such assumptions are problematic and can reify family networks as the main area of research for older BME people to the detriment of friendship networks which are also crucial. However, few researchers have explored this area. With the older BME population increasing at a faster rate than the older white population, further research is needed. Utilising data from Wave 6 of Understanding Society (N = 7,499, 4.3% of whom self-identified as BME), this study explores the ways in which the friendship networks of older BME people differ compared to older white people using logistic regression analyses. After controlling for potential confounding socio-demographic characteristics, older BME people were more likely to report having fewer close friends and fewer friends who live locally, suggesting that their friendship networks may be restricted in quantity and accessibility. Not only do these findings raise important questions about the varying needs of older minority ethnic people who have been largely overlooked in recent government policy, but they also highlight the continuing challenges of using large-scale surveys to research older BME people in the UK.

Type: Article
Title: Understanding the friendship networks of older Black and Minority Ethnic people living in the United Kingdom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X19001624
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X19001624
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: ageing, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), ethnicity, friends, social isolation, loneliness
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083351
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