Sociological researchers such as David Jacobson and Neal Krause illustrate that support that comes from interpersonal relationships positively impacts the health and wellness of older adults. At a time when the lifespan of individuals is ever-increasing (Fagan 2003), understanding social support networks is important to the livelihood of adults over the age of 65. This study is an analysis of social support networks of 19 residents living in an independent housing community in Brookline, Massachusetts and utilizes Goffman's theories of stigma and total institutions and Foucault's theory of discipline of the body. In-depth interviews reveal that support for older adults comes predominantly from friends, family, and formal and informal groups outside of the building, and it highlights how this support is related to time, locality, and connection. These results suggest that older adults may benefit from either multi-generational or non-institutionalized housing that would allow for a more positive atmosphere in regard to interpersonal relationships within living facilities.


Craven, Christa


Sociology and Anthropology


Community-Based Learning | Family, Life Course, and Society

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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