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A Life Course Approach to Women's Health$
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Diana Kuh and Rebecca Hardy

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780192632890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632890.001.0001

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Life course influences on women’s social relationships at midlife

Life course influences on women’s social relationships at midlife

(p.255) Chapter 12 Life course influences on women’s social relationships at midlife
A Life Course Approach to Women's Health

Nadine F. Marks

Kristy Ashleman

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews evidence documenting how the structure and quality of women's social relationships change from childhood to middle adulthood; considering how biological, psychological, and social factors uniquely, cumulatively, and interactively influence the quantity and quality of women's social relationships over time, which might, in turn, be expected to influence women's health. Several types of relationships are considered—with mothers, with fathers, with siblings, with partners, with children, and with friends. The relative importance of early life course factors for helping to determine later life relationships and relationship quality is examined. Wherever possible, life course differences between women and men, and differences between persons of varying socioeconomic status (SES) are addressed. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future research and implications for policy.

Keywords:   women's health, social life, women's relationships, social relationships, mothers, fathers, siblings, children, socioeconomic status

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