Effects of social support and personal coping resources on mortality in older age: the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam

Am J Epidemiol. 1997 Sep 15;146(6):510-9. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009305.


This study focuses on the role of social support and personal coping resources in relation to mortality among older persons in the Netherlands. Data are from a sample of 2,829 noninstitutionalized people aged between 55 and 85 years who took part in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam in 1992-1995. Social support was operationally defined by structural, functional, and perceived aspects, and personal coping resources included measures of mastery, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Mortality data were obtained during a follow-up of 29 months, on average. Cox proportional hazards regression models revealed that having fewer feelings of loneliness and greater feelings of mastery are directly associated with a reduced mortality risk when age, sex, chronic diseases, use of alcohol, smoking, self-rated health, and functional limitations are controlled for. In addition, persons who received a moderate level of emotional support (odds ratio (OR) = 0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.33-0.72) and those who received a high level of support (OR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47-0.98) had reduced mortality risks when compared with persons who received a low level of emotional support. Receipt of a high level of instrumental support was related to a higher risk of death (OR = 1.74, 95% CI 1.12-2.69). Interaction between disease status and social support or personal coping resources on mortality could not be demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support*