Association Between Social Support and Health of Aging Adults with Dementia
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The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore the relationship between social support and the health outcomes of older adults, ages 50 and older, with dementia in the United States, using data from the 2012 wave of the Health and Retirement Study (N = 446). The dependent variables included depressive symptoms (CES-D), self-reported health, number of chronic conditions, and the sum of activities of daily living (ADL) limitations. The key independent variables were measures of social support including marital status, children living within ten miles, relatives near, good friends near or in congregation, how often they attend religious services, relatives in congregation, and number of times they get together with people. Guided by the convoy model, this study focused on the layers of social support that typically surround an aging adult and the types of support within those layers. Findings of the logistic regression suggest that attending religious services was significantly associated with the ADL (p = .004). Having friends near or in a congregation was negatively associated with number of ADL limitations (p < .001), and positively associated with the likelihood of fewer depressive symptoms (p < .001). Results suggest that social support may be playing an important role in the health of aging adults with dementia. It may be important to focus on how to better ensure reliable social networks for aging adults with dementia and how to help secure meaningful social connections. Future research should prioritize assessing the effects of the quality of social supports on different types of health outcomes, within varying social proximities.
KeywordsConvoy model Dementia Aging adults Social support Health outcomes
This study was supported by faculty in the Family Science Department of the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, as well as Saeeun Choi, Ph.D. of Korea National University of Education.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors do not have any conflicts of interest related to this research.
As there is no person or personal data appearing in the paper, there is no one from whom permission should be obtained in order to publish personal data.
Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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