Comparing Old and Young Adults as They Cope with Life Transitions: The Links between Social Network Management Skills and Attachment Style to Depression

Adults are classified as young, middle-aged and older adults, and there can be said that there are some differences and similarities between these groups with respect to their traits, attitudes, perceptions and developments. The assigned article of this week focuses on the links of attachment style to network management skills in young and old adults, and how they link with depression. In this paper, I will try to give a summary of the article, and then I will make some critics about the design of the study mentioned in the paper. Finally, I will make my own interpretations about the results of the study.

The study in the article obtained data from adult and young adults about their network management skills, social network size and felt closeness, attachment style and whether they have depression symptoms so as to determine the influence of social network variables and individual differences in attachment on depression. According to the findings of the study, older adults are not as willing in setting new relations as young adults, and older ones tend to finish their existing social ties although younger ones are oriented to start new relationships. Moreover, they concluded that depression is not related with age, but with attachment style and network management skills.

The sample in the study consists of young and older adults since the resources they spent on their social network are more than the middle-aged ones who are more career-wise according to current developmental theory stated in the paper. I think middle-aged people should have taken part in this study, too. This is because I believe that they also experience a transition (becoming a worker after college) like the adult ones whose transition is becoming college freshman, and this new competitive setting could have impacts on the people’s social network. They might have to deal with a great number of individuals who have varied characteristics. I think if they are component at the social network management skills, they can have healthy relationships with their colleagues, managers and customers, which can decrease the chance of going into the depression.

One of the findings in the study the most significant for me is that older adults are more selective than young adults with respect to social relationships. I consider that being old means spending time with the people you like, you have fun with and you have positive relations with. I can say that their intention is not to feel loneliness in a crowd of people. Furthermore, I think their selectiveness is not only for social relationships but also for the events they want to experience in their remaining lives. They can be susceptible to do works they feel satisfaction. Other finding the study arrived is that age is not consideration for occurrence of depression. I can state that although every age brings new responsibilities and strains; if you have skills and support from others to cope with them, depression might not be seen.

On the whole, I can say that there is a difference between old and young adults with respect their goals and tendencies in setting a social networks and that age does not play a role in being depressive mood.


Gillath, O., Johnson, D., Selcuk, E., & Teel, C. (2011). Comparing old and young adults as they cope with life transitions: The links between social network management skills and attachment style to depression. Clinical Gerontologist34(3), 251-265.