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Wolff, Julia K.; Lindenberger, Ulman; Brose, Annette; Schmiedek, Florian:

Is available support always helpful for older adults?
Exploring the buffering effects of state and trait social support

In: Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 71 (2016) 1 , 23-34


3a. Beiträge in begutachteten Zeitschriften; Aufsatz (keine besondere Kategorie)

Alter Mensch, Altersgruppe, Empirische Untersuchung, Erwachsener, Fragebogen, Gesundheit, Soziale Integration, Unterstützung, Wirkung

Objectives: Associations between social support and health are studied since decades. Yet, little is known about how they vary by state versus trait aspects of support and by adult age. At trait and state level, the current study investigates direct associations between social support and health and whether support buffers the daily negative affect (NA)-health association in 2 age groups. Method: Seventy-nine younger and 88 older adults (OA) participated in 20 daily assessments of NA, health complaints (HC), and available support. On trait and state levels, 3 support facets - emotional, informational, and instrumental - were distinguished; social integration was assessed on the trait level. Results: For OA, trait emotional support was associated with fewer HC. In both age groups, state informational support was related to more daily HC. Social integration buffered the daily NA-health association in younger adults (YA), whereas informational support amplified the same association in OA. Discussion: We propose that 2 different mechanisms are relevant for younger and OA and at state and trait level. Although emotional support may be a resource for OA, informational support may enhance their daily complaints. YA seem to benefit from being socially integrated. (DIPF/Orig.)

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