Disability and depressive symptoms in the elderly: the effects of instrumental support and its subjective appraisal.
This article explores the buffering effect of social support on depressive symptoms in a community sample of elderly with varying levels of disability. Baseline interviews were conducted in respondents' homes. Results show that higher levels of disability are associated with higher levels of depression. Instrumental support and subjective appraisal of the network are associated with depressive symptoms, but instrumental support has a weak positive correlation, while subjective appraisals show a negative relationship. Social support mitigates the depressive effect of disability only when the network's efforts are appraised positively. However, no such relationship is shown for instrumental support. One's perception of the network's helpfulness appears to be more potent than the actual help provided by friends and family.
Wallsten, SM; Tweed, DL; Blazer, DG; George, LK
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