Eric D. Widmer

Cohn-Schwartz, E., Roth, A. R., & Widmer, E. D. (2020). Joint social contact and network overlap of spouses facing later adulthood household transitions in Switzerland. Advances in Life Course Research, 100395.



Personal network overlap and joint social contact of spouses have positive implications for social support and marital quality. Although these collective aspects of marriage constitute a valuable resource for couples, the factors impacting them during the later stages of life are underexplored. When faced with critical role losses in later life one compensatory mechanism for internal continuity is to jointly invest in relational dimensions of ones marriage. Accordingly, this research hypothesizes that some later adulthood transitions lead to greater overlap in conjugal networks and more joint contact between partners. Using two waves of data from a nationally representative sample of Swiss couples, it was found that both transitions of children leaving the household and retirement were related to increases in personal network overlap and shared social contact between partners but differently for male and female partners. Results are discussed in the light of mechanisms promoted by continuity theory.

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