The Influence of Social Support Factors on the Well-Being of the Elderly

  • Benjamin L. Handen
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)


Social support has received considerable attention in the literature as researchers have noted its influence upon both psychological well-being and physical health. Nowhere is the influence of social support more strongly felt than among the elderly population. This group typically experiences a gradual (and sometimes sudden) decline in both support systems and health status over time. Therefore, if social support can, indeed, influence health and well-being, it may be that this population has the most to gain from research findings in this area. This chapter focuses upon the influence of social support factors on both the psychological and physical health of the elderly, two interrelated and overlapping subareas. I will first describe definitional and measurement issues related to social support and health. Next, I will present various theories relating social support to physical and psychological health. In the subsequent sections, I will review demographic variables, which may be useful in identifying individuals at risk for succumbing to stressful life events, and I will discuss adverse effects of social support and make some clinical recommendations of ways to use this information.


Social Support Life Satisfaction Community Psychology Instrumental Support Sodal Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin L. Handen
    • 1
  1. 1.Children’s Hospital of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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