Social support factors and health among a senior center population in southern Ontario, Canada

Tanya R. Fitzpatrick, Richard J. Gitelson, Kathleen Andereck, Ellen Sue Mesbur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Past research on senior centers has mainly focused on utilization, frequency, duration of attendance, participation or various activities and services. This study strives to go beyond previous research by examining social support factors and their relationship to mental and physical health across a senior center population in southern Ontario, Canada. Data were collected at two large senior centers in the Kitchener, Waterloo area. We used a self-administered survey among a sample of older participants (n = 186). One-way ANOVA with post-hoc Duncan's multiple range tests, t-tests, and linear regression analyses were used to examine the influence of social support (friendship, caregiving and advice) on mental and physical health. The results indicated that caregiving is significantly related to physical health, how respondents feel in general, and happiness with personal life. Advice from others is significantly related to perceptions of having a life full of interesting things. Additionally, respondents who are volunteers perceive better health and social support than non-volunteers, those who eat at the center perceive better health and caregiving support, and those that started a new activity perceived better health and social support from friendships. Implications for social work practice, policy and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-37
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Fingerprint

Senior Centers
Ontario
Social Support
Canada
social support
Health
caregiving
health
Population
Mental Health
friendship
Happiness
Social Work
Research
Volunteers
Linear Models
Analysis of Variance
Regression Analysis
happiness
social work

Keywords

  • Canadian senior centers
  • Mental and physical health
  • Social support
  • Social work interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

Cite this

Social support factors and health among a senior center population in southern Ontario, Canada. / Fitzpatrick, Tanya R.; Gitelson, Richard J.; Andereck, Kathleen; Mesbur, Ellen Sue.

In: Social Work in Health Care, Vol. 40, No. 3, 2004, p. 15-37.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fitzpatrick, Tanya R. ; Gitelson, Richard J. ; Andereck, Kathleen ; Mesbur, Ellen Sue. / Social support factors and health among a senior center population in southern Ontario, Canada. In: Social Work in Health Care. 2004 ; Vol. 40, No. 3. pp. 15-37.
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