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J Aging Health. 2003 Nov;15(4):616-44.

Social ties and perceived support: two dimensions of social relationships and health among the elderly in Taiwan.

Author information

1
Polisher Research Institute, Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life, North Wales, PA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Assess the effects of social relationships on physical and mental health among the elderly in Taiwan.

METHODS:

Using 4 waves of a survey of the elderly, we examine the relationship between social ties and perceived support and four health outcomes--mortality, functional status, self-assessed health, and depression.

RESULTS:

Perceived support and social ties are related to health, but many of the apparent effects are attenuated in the presence of controls for prior health. However, positive perceptions about support are protective of mental (but not physical) health.

DISCUSSION:

If baseline health is ignored, estimates of the effects of social relationships on health at a given stage of life are likely to be inflated by reverse causality or by effects occurring prior to baseline. Inclusion of controls for initial health reveals that, in general, the relationship between social support and health at the older ages in Taiwan is relatively modest.

PMID:
14587529
DOI:
10.1177/0898264303256215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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