Original Articles

Someone to rely on: the impact of social support on self-perceived health in Slovene elderly


Abstract


Introduction: Aiming at highlighting the importance of social networking for health of elderly, the association between social support and self-perceived health (SPH) was assessed in Slovenia.

Methods: Data from three consecutive cross-sectional surveys on health behaviour in Slovenia (2008, 2012 and 2016), for 4599 elderly, aged 65-75 years, were pooled. Association between poor SPH (PSPH) and social support (taking into account also existence of extended personal social network (EPSN)), adjusted for confounders, was analysed by multiple logistic regression.

Results: The PSPH odds were statistically significantly higher in single/divorced without EPSN (OR=2.99; p=0.005) and single/divorced with EPSN (OR=1.49; p=0.053) in comparison to married with EPSN.

Conclusion: Irrespective of gender, socio-economic status or health-related factors, elderly with low level of social support were more likely to perceive their health as poor/very poor. Public health measures to reduce isolation of elderly should be included in the action plan in the frame of the Longevity strategy.


Keywords


Social support, self-perceived health, cross-sectional study, healthy aging

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