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Adulthood and Aging

  1. Susan T. Charles,
  2. Jennifer R. Piazza

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0021

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Charles, S. T. and Piazza, J. R. 2010. Adulthood and Aging. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of California, Irvine

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


People are inherently social beings. Although this need for social relationships is observed in people of all ages, the structure and relative importance placed on various members of the social network changes across the lifespan. The convoy model of social relations discusses both the stability and changes that occur in social network composition over time. According to the convoy model, an individual moves through life embedded within a network of people who provide aid, assistance, and support, as well as serve as a secure attachment base from which the individual may explore his or her world. The size of this network is posited to change predictably across the lifespan to reflect shifting social roles and family composition. These changes follow a curvilinear pattern, with numbers of close relationships lowest in early childhood, increasing throughout early and middle adulthood, and then decreasing in later adulthood (see review by Antonucci, Akiyama, & Takahashi, 2004).


  • social relationships;
  • socioemotional selectivity;
  • convoy model;
  • well-being