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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Cynthia S. Jacelon

Second Advisor

Lisa Chiodo

Third Advisor

Anthony Paik

Fourth Advisor

Felicity Aulino

Subject Categories

Geriatric Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing


Background: Older adults are the fastest growing segment of the population in the United States. By 2030, 72.1 million Americans will be over sixty-five years of age and many live with and manage multiple chronic conditions. Self-care behaviors are a priority to effectively manage chronic conditions, yet a gap exists in our understanding of how social networks influence the outcomes of self-care behavior and health within the context of aging and managing multiple chronic conditions. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine how social network features and functions influence self-care behaviors and health among community dwelling older adults with multiple chronic conditions. Design: This study integrated an explanatory sequential mixed methods design. Methods: A cross-sectional sample of eighty-nine community dwelling older adults participated. Descriptive statistics were used to describe social networks. Bivariate correlations and regression statistics were used to examine the relationships of social networks with the dependent variables of self-care behaviors and health. Qualities that emphasize the contexts expanded the analysis of the survey data. and social support. Results: Ties strength and social support predicted the outcome of therapeutic self-care, mental health, sense of control and attributed dignity. Distinctions between tangible support and psychosocial support are made. Thematic analysis expanded understanding on network size, psychosocial support, activation of support and interaction frequency and type. Conclusions: Social networks influence self-care behaviors and mental health, sense of control and attributed dignity. In living with multiple chronic conditions, this research proposes new ways to understand social members in creating supportive self-care networks in older age.