Table 1: Studies covered in this paper.

Author’s nameYearType of studyNationalitySample groupsSample age ( or/M)Size ( 𝑁 )Type of social supportMeasures of reciprocityOutcome variable

Silverstein et al.2002Longitudinal (27 y) 1971–1997 Six waves QuestionnairesUSA, California; middle and working classesElderly parents children Intergenerational1971–1997: Children: 19 y–43 y Parents: 45 y–72 y 𝑁 = 5 0 1 childrenEmotional support
Practical support
Informational support
Dichotomously scored (0: “not provided”; 1: “provided”) each indicator and summed them to create an additive scale ranging from 0 to 5 at each time period, which were statistically analyzed.Continuity

Becker et al.2003Longitudinal (5 y)
Five waves Open-ended and semi-structured interviews
USA—four ethnic groupsElders and their children/family Intergenerational 50 y 𝑁 = 2 7 0 elderly“What kinds of support or assistance do elders provide to family members and vice versa?”Comparison of coded answers of provision and receiving supportContinuity

Klein Ikkink et al.1998Longitudinal (3 y) 1992–1995
Two waves Mailed questionnaires
The Netherlands—Dutch ethnic groupThe elders. Family subgroups, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances 55 y
M: 68 y
𝑁 = 4 0 8 Instrumental supportReciprocity variables were constructed by subtracting the support received by the support given.
A negative score indicated “overbenefiting”; 0 meant “balance”; a positive score indicated “underbenefiting”.

Klein Ikkink et al.1999Longitudinal (3 y) 1992–1995
Three waves Face-to-face interviews
The Netherlands—Dutch ethnic groupThe elders. Family subgroups, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances 55 y
M: 68 y
𝑁 = 2 0 5 7 Emotional support
Instrumental support
Reciprocity variables were constructed by subtracting the support received by the support given. A negative score indicated “overbenefiting”; 0 meant “balance”; a positive score indicated “underbenefiting”.Continuity

Antonucci et al.1987Cross-sectional
Personal interview
All members of a sampled household 70 y and older were interviewed
50 y
(Range 50–95)
𝑁 = 7 1 8 Network structure (i.e., network size) and functional support to the ten most important network members (NM) regarding confiding, respect, caring, talking about health.Respondents (NM) were asked to identify each network member from whom they received each type of support as well as whom they provided each type of support. Functional support where NM provided support was coded as 1. NM who did not provide support to the focal person were coded as 0.Continuity Convoy model
Ingersoll-Dayton et al.1988Cross-sectional
Personal interview
USAElders and their friends
All members of a sampled household 70 y and older were interviewed
50 y
(Range 50–95)
𝑁 = 7 1 8 Amount of perceived reciprocity: number who received support and number who provided support
Network demand
General well-being.
If the functional supports were calculated as zero, this indicated a reciprocal relationship.
A positive number were coded as receiving more. A negative number were coded as giving more.
Continuity Life satisfaction Negative affect

Two studies:
( 1 ) Quantitative
(2) Qualitative
USA; Long Island and New York City area White and black womenElderly women and their friends ( 1 ) Questionnaire study
( 2 ) Interviews of both members of four friendship pairs
65 y( 1 ) 𝑁 = 1 6 9
(2) 𝑁 = 8 (four friend-ship pairs)
( 1 ) Quantitative: Emotional support-Intimacy, Activity, Practical help
( 2 ) Qualitative: Emotional support-Intimacy, Activity, Practical help
Relationships are measured in terms of the equity of exchange input and exchange outcome and the gains and losses of each person in the relationshipContinuity Making new friends

James et al.1984Longitudinal (4 y) 1978–1982
Participants observation Interview
Three coastal hamlets
Elderly inhabitants and their close family members, remote kin, neighbors, and parental caretakers 60 y 𝑁 = 7 0 All kinds of social interaction and social support:
Emotional support
Instrumental support
Social companionship
A life history method—collecting detailed qualitative information Interview focusing on particular economic and social variables, that is, questions about the degree of interaction (i.e., reciprocity) with close family, their neighbors, and kin.Continuity

de Vugt et al.2003Longitudinal (2 y)
Questionnaire Interview
The NetherlandsFemale and male spouse caregivers of consecutively referred patients with dementiaCaregiver: M = 68.3 (SD 7.9)
Patient: M = 71.6 (SD 7.6)
𝑁 = 5 3 (male = 22; female = 31)The quality of the relationship was measured by four items: General closeness, Communication, Similarity of views about life, and Degree of getting along.
Interviews reporting on changes in their relationship since the onset of dementia
Analysis of the difference between baseline and the followup questionnaires and interviews. Description of relational changes since the onset of dementiaRelationship changes (i.e., reciprocity) Continuity of the relationship
Hooker et al.2000Cross-sectional
Questionnaire Interview
New York
Female and male spouse caregivers for patients with Alzheimer’ (AD) and Parkinson’ diseases (PD)Caregivers AD: M = 71 y
Caregivers PD: M = 67y
𝑁 = 1 7 5 spouse caregivers
AD 𝑁 = 8 8 (male = 36; female = 52)
PD 𝑁 = 8 7 (male = 32; female = 55)
Coping strategies:
Problem-Focused coping
Social support coping
Emotion-focused coping
Analysis of answers from the questionnaires and the interviewMarital satisfaction. Mental health Continuity

Neufeld et al.1998Longitudinal (18 months) Three waves In-depth interviews
Focus-group discussion
CanadaMale caregivers of cognitively impaired (primarily AD) older adults. Caregivers relationship to care recipient, family, and friends 60 y (range 33 to 87 y) 𝑁 = 2 2 caregiversDescribing a typical day
Describing give-and-take in all their relationships and the support they received from and gave to others
Coding and analysis of the presence or absence of reciprocity, the context in which reciprocity occurred, characteristics of reciprocity, and the consequent feelings of the caregiver were coded, and analyzedContinuity

Bear1990Longitudinal Two waves
At entry in an RCH resident and six months after entering an RCH Face-to-face interviews
The elderly and their relations to their family and friends chosen upon emotional bonding and tie content 60 y 𝑁 = 8 1 Measurement of network density, reciprocity, intensity, and material linkages
The year prior to their RCH entry, retrospectively, by their present entry period and six months later
Reciprocity was measured by the proportion of each resident’s network material links (financial, assistance (including past assistance from the residents), gifts) that are reciprocatedContinuity

et al.
Telephone interviews
Elderly and their relationship to their marital life (or partnership)
The parent-children exchange
60 y 𝑁 = 1 2 9 0
Germany 𝑁 = 6 8 2
𝑁 = 6 0 8
Emotional support
Practical support
Experience regarding reciprocity/nonreciprocity of their most important social relationships
The effort-reward-model: (effort spent –“high cost” and rewards received –“low gain”)Mental health
Depressive symptoms: CES-D scale
et al.
2009Cross-sectionalEnglandThe elderlyM = 62 y 𝑁 = 5 3 8 4 “Caring for others” defined as emotional and instrumental social supportThe effort-reward modelMental Health: Quality of life—CASP-scale
Life satisfaction—SLS-scale Depressive symptoms—CES-D scale

Wahrendorf et al.2006Cross-sectional
Face-to face-interviews
Ten European countries (Austria, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Denmark, Greece, and Switzerland)The elderly 50 y 𝑁 = 2 2 0 0 0 “Care for a sick or disabled adult”
“Provide help to family, friends, or neighbors”
The effort-reword modelMental health: Quality of life—CASP-scale Depressive symptoms—CES-D scale

Liang et al.2001Cross-sectionalUSA Different countiesThe elderly and their relationships with their friends, neighbors, and relatives 65 y 𝑁 = 1 1 0 3 Emotional support
Tangible support
Informational support
Assessed composites measures of both support received and givenMental health: Depressive symptoms—CES-D scale

Roberto et al.1986Cross-Sectional InterviewUSAThe elderly and their relationship with their best friend 65 y
M = 73.8 y
𝑁 = 1 1 0 Emotional support
Instrumental support
Social companionship
Making an equity score based on a modified version of the Walster Global Measure of Participants’ perceptions of Inputs, Outcomes, and Equity/Inequity:
Scores less than zero were “overbenefited”.
Scores equal to zero were “equitable benefited”.
Scores greater than zero were “underbenefited”.
Mental health: Relationship Distress—“Austin’s Total Mood Index”
Los Angeles
Elderly widowed women and their relationships with their social network, in particular with friends and family members 60 y
M = 72 y
𝑁 = 1 2 0 Emotional support
Instrumental support
Social companionship
Numbers of positive inputs received and positive inputs provided were computed as two measures. A difference score was computed by subtracting these two measures: 0 represented an “equitable exchange pattern”; a positive score indicated an “overbenefited” position; and a negative score indicated an “underbenefited” position.Mental health/Social satisfaction: Loneliness—UCLA and SFL scales
Psychological well-being (Bradburn, 1969)
Quality of life (Campbell et al., 1976)

Nemoto1998Cross-Sectional Telephone Interview and questionnairesUSAJapanese American elderly resided in New York 55 y
M = 71 y
𝑁 = 5 0 Emotional support
Instrumental support
Reciprocity norms were identified by asking respondents to rate their perception of the reciprocal behaviors in each function of social support on a 7-point response scaleMental health: Life satisfaction (Rapkin et al., 1992)
Scale of depressive symptoms (α =  .80)

Wentowski1981Anthropological study Structured interviews Participant observationUSA Cities from the industrial complexes in southern USAThe elderly and their exchanges to persons in different roles in their social network 55 y
M = 71 y
𝑁 = 5 0 Identify exchange strategies within the personal networks of transference of goods services, emotional support and the cultural rules of reciprocity directing these exchanges.Identifying the cultural rules governing reciprocity as the basis for constructing exchange strategiesMental health: Degree of independence
Degree of self-worth