ERIC Number: ED277962
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Nov-21
Reference Count: 0
Social Support and Health Maintenance among Older Married Women.
Howze, Elizabeth H.
Research in the areas of social networks and social support has illustrated some of the complex ways in which those areas contribute to health. A study was conducted to examine the structure of social support among older women, its influences on physical and emotional health status and on behaviors associated with increased risk of chronic disease, specifically smoking, obesity, and alcohol use. Married women (N=1,096) between the ages of 65 and 74 were interviewed. Two-thirds of the respondents reported their physical health to be good or excellent. Eighty-seven percent reported having good to excellent emotional health. Prevalence of smoking and alcohol use was low. The results of the study showed affective and instrumental support to be a single dimension of social support, at least in primary relationships. The observation that women with strong social support from husband, relatives, and friends had significantly different and higher self-appraised physical health status scores than did women with low social support can suggest that social support promotes health and/or that good health enables social support. The evidence suggests the importance of maintaining good physical health through positive health practices and of maintaining good emotional health by cultivating a strong support system. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (39th, Chicago, IL, November 19-23, 1986).