J Community Psychol 2019 Jun 25;47(5):1235-1245. Epub 2019 Mar 25.
Department of Social Work and Social Policy, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, People's Republic of China.
This study examines the direct effect of social support and the mediating effects of coping styles on loneliness and depression of older elderly people in China using data from the 2014 China Longitudinal Aging Social Survey. Our sample includes 905 males and 741 females aged 75 years and over. The mean age of the sample is 79.71 (standard deviation = 4.01). We use structural equation modeling to show that social support is significantly negatively associated with the incidence of loneliness and depression among older elderly people. Higher levels of social support are also significantly negatively associated with the use of negative coping styles and consequently predict fewer symptoms of loneliness and depression. A higher level of social support is significantly positively associated with positive coping styles and consequently predicts fewer depressive symptoms. However, positive coping styles are not significantly associated with loneliness. These findings emphasize the importance of social networks in resilience and have significant implications for gerontological social work practice in China.
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