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Journal of the Korean Academy of Family Medicine 2000;21(5):672-683.
The association between social support and health status in the rural elderly.
Ka Young Lee, Tae Jin Park
Inje Medial School Pusan Paik Hospital Department of Family Medicine, Koera.
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between social support and health status for the elderly in a rural area where social network has been decreased. METHODS: One hundred and 58 elderly patients who visited free medical services participated in the survey that contained items about social support, heath status, socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and depression. Subjects were divided into three groups according to their social support index scores and two groups according to their health status. The health behaviors, socioeconomic status, and depression were considered as confounders. The associations between social support and confounders were analyzed by oneway analysis of variance, Cochran Mantel-Haenszel test, x2-test, and t-test. Then, multiple logistic regression analyses were done to find the adjusted association between social support and health status. RESULTS: Social support was related to education (P=0.012), economic level (P=0.007), smoking status (P=0.028), depression score (P<0.001), and health status (P<0.001). Health status was related to age (P=0.02), economic level (P<0.001), and depression score (P<0.001). The unadjusted prevalence odds ratios (POR) for poor health status were 7.3 (95% CI: 2.8-19.2) in the poorly supported group and 1.3 (95% CI: 0.5-3.5) in moderately supported group compared with the highly supported group. The corresponding adjusted POR increased to 14.3 (95% CI: 2.8-73.3) in poorly supported group and 6.2 (95% CI: 1.2-31.9) in moderately supported group. CONCLUSION: The poor social support was associated with poor health status and the relationship increased more with adjustment of confounders. Several methods to improve social support is necessary to maintain and enhance health status in the rural elderly.
Key Words: elderly; social support; health status


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