A sample of 334 people aged 56 and over living in the Capital Regional District of B. C. (Greater Victoria) were interviewed about their supportive social network. Four social supportive roles were investigated: caretaker, helper, confidant, and advisor.
Most of the sample had network members to fulfil these roles, however, in the lives of about one-fifth of the respondents, support in one or more of these areas was not available. Although most of the respondents in excellent or good health felt no need for more people in certain supportive roles, more people with fair or poor health expressed a need for more people in their supportive networks.
This research supports earlier findings about the vulnerability of women who are widowed and over 74 years old. They are the group most in need of socially supportive networks.