Research among nondemented elderly living independently in the community suggests that increased social support is associated with improved emotional and physical health. Relatively little research has examined associations between social supports and health among the institutionalized elderly. A sample of 70 nondemented, elderly nursing-home patients was studied to determine associations between qualitative and quantitative aspects of patients' relationships with their primary family contact and measures of emotional well-being, including depression, hopelessness, and life satisfaction. Significant correlations between quality of relationships and all domains of emotional well-being were found. None of the correlations between frequency of interaction and measures of emotional health were significant. A hierarchical regression analysis demonstrated that the correlation between quality of relationships and depression and life satisfaction was independent of functional status, mental status, age, type of relation, and frequency of visits. These results are consistent with studies of the noninstitutionalized elderly.