Older Gay Men and Their Support Convoys

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Department or Administrative Unit


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We used the convoy model and the network type construct to identify the relationship quality profiles found among older gay men and to examine how they define a satisfactory network. Method:

We used a network mapping strategy and in-depth qualitative interviews with 20 participants in Atlanta. During the interviews, all network members were discussed, regardless of relationship or map position. Results:

For participants, having people in their lives with whom they could fully be “out” as gay men (authenticity) was at the root of a quality network. This allowed them to develop emotional closeness (intimacy), which, in part, provided a foundation of social support. Participants’ discussion of network quality, which reflected authenticity, intimacy, and social support, revealed high, moderate, and low quality network types. Discussion:

Our findings diversify knowledge of the network type construct, provide a deeper understanding of its qualitative features, and give voice to this often-invisible group, situating meaning within their social-historical context. The findings suggest that the meaning of a quality network is contextual and culturally specific, varying across groups of older adults.


This article was originally published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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The Journals of Gerontology: Series B


© The Author 2016.