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Activities of Daily Living, Social Support, and Future Health of Older Americans

Bozo Özen, Özlem
Guarnaccia, Charles A.
The authors investigated the relation of activities of daily living (ADL) and social support satisfaction to illness status 10 years later among 4,870 married older adults in the Health and Retirement Study (F. Juster & R. Suzman, 1995). The authors tested the direct and indirect effects of 1992 ADL, as well as family and friends support satisfaction and spousal social support satisfaction on 2002 illness status. The hierarchical multiple regressions found, controlling for 1992 illness status, ADL protected against future illness, and family and friends and spousal support satisfaction had small, surprisingly positive, effects on greater 2002 illness. The ADL x Family and Friends Support Satisfaction and the ADL x Spousal Support Satisfaction crossproduct interactions were also small positive predictors of later illness. The authors discuss several possible mechanisms that explained this unexpected result. The authors concluded that, depending on whether the recipient is in need of support and depending on the source of the support, the older adults do or do not benefit from the support.