Daily well-being of older adults with friends and family.

R. Larson, R. Mannell, J. Zuzanek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Family members are the major source of physical and emotional support for older adults, yet researchers suggest that friendships have a stronger bearing on subjective well-being. In this research we sought an explanation for this inconsistency in older adults' immediate experiences with friends. Retired adults provided self-reports on their subjective states at random moments during a typical week. Analyses of these reports confirmed the prediction that older adults have more favorable experiences with their friends than with family members. The difference is partly attributable to the greater frequency of active leisure activities with friends, but is also due to unique qualities of interactions with friends that facilitate transcendence of mundane daily realities. We propose that friends provide an immediate situation of openness, reciprocity, and positive feedback that engenders enjoyment and subjectively meaningful exchanges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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