Age and Physical Health as Predictors of Family Contact among Adults with Severe Psychiatric Illness
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We assessed the association of frequency of family contact with age and physical health for a sample of adults with severe psychiatric illness (N = 171). This cross-sectional, observational study measured frequency of face-to-face and telephone contact with family members; satisfaction with family relations; and severity of participants’ chronic or permanent physical health conditions. In this sample of adults with severe psychiatric illness, having a physical health condition and advancing age correlated negatively with frequency of face-to-face contact with family members. However, a hierarchical regression analysis controlling for residence in a family member’s home, and participants’ ratings of satisfaction with family relations, showed that the combination of being older and having more severe health conditions was associated with a more frequent rate of family contact than would be expected based on age or physical health considered alone. Because almost all older participants in this heterogeneous sample had serious physical health conditions, as well as frequent telephone and face-to-face contact with their family members, we recommend the recruitment of family members as collaborators in illness management interventions for aging and mid-life adults with psychiatric illness.
KeywordsOlder adults Severe psychiatric illness Co-occurring physical illness Prevalence Contact frequency with family members Illness management
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