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Am J Epidemiol. 1997 Sep 15;146(6):510-9.

Effects of social support and personal coping resources on mortality in older age: the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam.

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Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This study focuses on the role of social support and personal coping resources in relation to mortality among older persons in the Netherlands. Data are from a sample of 2,829 noninstitutionalized people aged between 55 and 85 years who took part in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam in 1992-1995. Social support was operationally defined by structural, functional, and perceived aspects, and personal coping resources included measures of mastery, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Mortality data were obtained during a follow-up of 29 months, on average. Cox proportional hazards regression models revealed that having fewer feelings of loneliness and greater feelings of mastery are directly associated with a reduced mortality risk when age, sex, chronic diseases, use of alcohol, smoking, self-rated health, and functional limitations are controlled for. In addition, persons who received a moderate level of emotional support (odds ratio (OR) = 0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.33-0.72) and those who received a high level of support (OR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47-0.98) had reduced mortality risks when compared with persons who received a low level of emotional support. Receipt of a high level of instrumental support was related to a higher risk of death (OR = 1.74, 95% CI 1.12-2.69). Interaction between disease status and social support or personal coping resources on mortality could not be demonstrated.

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