Longitudinal effects of social support on the health and functioning of older women with heart disease

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2004;59(2):153-75. doi: 10.2190/BY6D-LMK8-P8HT-DMP9.


This study examined the effects of: 1) four dimensions of social support, 2) the number of close social ties, and 3) marital status on the physical and psychological health and functioning of 471 women aged 60 years and over with heart disease. Linear mixed models were used to assess the impact of each baseline social relations predictor on health outcomes at four-, 12-, and 18-month follow-up intervals. A second set of models examined the association between change in support variables over time with concomitant change in health outcomes. Results indicated that baseline emotional/ informational support, positive social interaction, affectionate support, tangible support, number of close friends and relatives, and marital status all significantly predicted (p < .05) one or more health outcomes over time. Increases in positive social interaction and emotional support over time were significantly associated with concurrent improvement in all self-reported physical and psychological health outcomes. Interventions that enhance the availability of emotional/informational support and promote social interaction are needed for this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Diseases / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires