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Open AccessArticle

Gender Differences in Social Support Received by Informal Caregivers: A Personal Network Analysis Approach

1
Fundación para la Investigación Biosanitaria de Andalucía Oriental (FIBAO), 18012 Granada, Spain
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Andalusian School of Public Health, Consejería de Salud, Junta de Andalucía, 18080 Granada, Spain
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Biomedical Research Centre (ibs.GRANADA), 18080 Granada, Spain
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Department of Nursing, SALBIS Research Group, Nursing Research Group IDIVAL, University of Cantabria, 39008 Santander, Spain
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Public Health Research Institute (IRSPUM), University of Montreal, Montreal, QC H3N 1X7, Canada
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CIBER en Epidemiologia y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), 28029 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010091
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 19 December 2018 / Published: 31 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Health)
Social support is an important predictor of the health of a population. Few studies have analyzed the influence of caregivers’ personal networks from a gender perspective. The aim of this study was to analyze the composition, structure, and function of informal caregiver support networks and to examine gender differences. It also aimed to explore the association between different network characteristics and self-perceived health among caregivers. We performed a social network analysis study using a convenience sample of 25 female and 25 male caregivers. A descriptive analysis of the caregivers and bivariate analyses for associations with self-perceived health were performed. The structural metrics analyzed were density; degree centrality mean; betweenness centrality mean; and number of cliques, components, and isolates. The variability observed in the structure of the networks was not explained by gender. Some significant differences between men and women were observed for network composition and function. Women received help mainly from women with a similar profile to them. Men’s networks were broader and more diverse and they had more help from outside family circles, although these outcomes were not statistically significant. Our results indicate the need to develop strategies that do not reinforce traditional gender roles, but rather encourage a greater sharing of responsibility among all parties. View Full-Text
Keywords: social network analysis; personal network analysis; social support; informal care; caregivers; gender differences social network analysis; personal network analysis; social support; informal care; caregivers; gender differences
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Rodríguez-Madrid, M.N.; Del Río-Lozano, M.; Fernandez-Peña, R.; Jiménez-Pernett, J.; García-Mochón, L.; Lupiañez-Castillo, A.; García-Calvente, M.M. Gender Differences in Social Support Received by Informal Caregivers: A Personal Network Analysis Approach. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 91.

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