The Convoy Model and later‐life family relationships

Document Type


Publication Date



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Publication Title

Journal of Family Theory and Review


© 2020 National Council on Family Relations. The convoy model of social relations was developed to provide a heuristic framework for conceptualizing and understanding social relationships. In this Original Voices article, we begin with an overview of the theoretical tenets of the convoy model, including its value in addressing situational and contextual influences, especially variability in family forms and cultural diversity across the life span, but particularly in older adulthood. We also consider the contributions of the convoy model to the field of family gerontology by illustrating concepts, methods, and measures used to test the model, as well as its usefulness and limitations in addressing contemporary issues facing older adults. Finally, we discuss opportunities for innovation and application of the convoy model to the study of later-life family relationships. In summary, we emphasize the benefits and inclusiveness of the convoy model for guiding current and future research to address challenges facing family gerontology now and in the future.

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