ERIC Number: ED275836
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Ecology of Social Support and Older Adult Adaptation: A Review of Research and Educational Implications.
Schiamberg, Lawrence B.; Abler, William
A detailed review of research was conducted on the relationship of social support of older adults to their general health and well being, and the findings were applied to educational outcomes and performance. The following dimensions of social support were examined: (1) an ecological framework or perspective of social support, (2) definitions and theoretical perspectives, (3) methodological concerns, (4) social support and overall adult adaptation (focus on health ), and (5) social support and educational outcomes for older adults. The findings on the nature of social support were equivocal, pointing out a great many false assumptions and methodological problems in considering the health and well being of older adults. For example, some studies suggest that social supports decline with age, while others suggest that the patterns of social support reside with the individual and are relatively constant throughout life. The picture of the lonely, friendless older person may be largely a myth. Therefore, applying the results of such research to educational outcomes is, at best, merely suggestive. On the one hand, educational outcomes for older adults may be somewhat independent of social support variables and influenced primarily by self-characteristics. On the other hand, the role of social supports in the educational outcomes of older adults may be relatively important but not fully appreciated. The study suggests a model of social support in older adult education. The notion of "convoys" or the dynamic networks of social support that accompany the individual throughout life may be useful in such a model. Such a notion is the first step toward integrating social support theory and research in older adult education. A 66-item reference list concludes the document. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, San Francisco, CA, April 16-20, 1986).