Social support and generational diversity: the potential of the LSNS-6

Susana Villas-Boas Villas-Boas, Albertina Lima Oliveira, Natália Ramos, Inmaculada Montero


This article aims to deepen the knowledge of the social support of a local commu¬nity population through a quantitative study in which the authors sought to know how social support varies depending on age subgroups, and how it is related to key socio-demographic variables. The sample comprised 385 subjects from the parish of Bonfim in the city of Porto, divided into three age groups: youth and young adults (n=165), middle-aged adults (n=110) and elderly adults (n=110). The statistical analyses allowed us to conclude that age is in itself a risk factor, but it is also significantly associated with the following characteristics: being a woman, having low levels of education, low income, living alone or institutionalized, being a widow, being divorced/separated, being unemployed or retired. The knowledge and information re¬sulting from this study is an important contribution to the organization of social intervention strategies, namely through Intergenerational Programs that could be seen as a planning tool to expand and strengthen binding social networks, contributing to the well-being, quality of life and social integration not only of the elderly, but also of different generations and groups identified as being potentially at risk. The innovative aspect of this study was the validation of the abbreviated version of the Lubben Social Network Saclae (LSNS-6) – originally developed for the elderly group – for all age groups.


social support; social network ; intergenerational programs ; LSNS-6


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