Social support, health status and health services utilization among the noninstitutionalized elderly: An analysis of the Supplement on Aging to the 1984 national health interview survey

Yue-chune Lee, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

The association between Social Support, Health Status, and Health Services Utilization of the elderly, was explored based on the analysis of data from the Supplement on Aging to the National Health Interview Survey, 1984 (N = 11,497) using a modified framework of Aday and Andersen's Expanded Behavioral Model. The results suggested that Social Support as operationalized in this study was an independent determinant of the use of health services. The quantity of social activities and the use of community services were the two most consistent determinants across different types of health services use.^ The effects of social support on the use of health services were broken down into three components to facilitate explanations of the mechanisms through which social support operated. The Predisposing and Enabling component of Social Support had independent, although not uniform, effects on the use of health services. Only slight substitute effects of social support were detected. These included the substitution of the use of senior centers for longer stay in the hospital and the substitution of help with IADL problems for the use of formal home care services.^ The effect of financial support on the use of health services was found to be different for middle and low income populations. This differential effect was also found for the presence of intimate networks, the frequencies of interaction with children and the perceived availability of support among urban/rural, male/female and white/non-white subgroups.^ The study also suggested that the selection of appropriate Health Status measures should be based on the type of Health Services Utilization in which a researcher is interested. The level of physical function limitation and role activity limitation were the two most consistent predictors of the volume of physician visits, number of hospital days, and average length of stay in the hospital during the past year.^ Some alternative hypotheses were also raised and evaluated, when possible. The impacts of the complex sample design, the reliability and validity of the measures and other limitations of this analysis were also discussed. Finally, a revised framework was proposed and discussed based on the analysis. Some policy implications and suggestions for future study were also presented. ^

Subject Area

Gerontology|Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

Lee, Yue-chune, "Social support, health status and health services utilization among the noninstitutionalized elderly: An analysis of the Supplement on Aging to the 1984 national health interview survey" (1989). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9021988.
https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI9021988

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