Using Geographical Distance among Family Members from the Electoral List as a Measure of the Intensity of Social Networks of the Elderly in Costa Rica

Gilbert Brenes-Camacho, Universidad de Costa Rica

The first-wave questionnaire of the project CRELES (Costa Rican Study of Longevity and Healthy Aging) collects a limited amount of information about social support of the Costa Rican elderly. We use information from Costa Rica’s electoral list linked to the CRELES main dataset to establish the district of residence of the siblings and children of the CRELES sampled individuals. Then, using the geographical coordinates of the centroids of the electoral districts, we compute mean geographical distances between each CRELES respondent and his/her siblings and children. We then compare this geographical measures with other indexes used in CRELES to assess social support and social networks in order to inspect its external validity. Finally, we run several logistic and regression models that have health indicators as dependent variables, to see whether geographical distance as a proxy for social distance is associated with health status in Costa Rica.

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Presented in Session 128: Spatial Dimensions of Local Processes