Wednesday June 19, 2019

Older adults have mixed effect because of social support


Singapore: An Indian origin researcher’s study suggested that social support provided to older adults by family and friends, is not the only postive effect on their mental health but it is mixed blessing.

Assistant professor Rahul Malhotra and Shannon Ang from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore found that receipt of social support reduced depressive symptoms among older individuals, but at the same time made them feel like they had lost control over their lives.

The study, published recently in the journal Social Science and Medicine, linked this loss of control to increased depressive symptoms among older adults, which counteracted the positive effect of receiving social support.

The researchers analysed data collected from surveys administered to 2,766 older adults aged 62 to 97 who were part of the Panel of Health and Aging in Singaporean Elderly (PHASE).

“While receiving social support may help older people feel a sense of belonging or enhance their relationship closeness with the provider, it can also impact them negatively because it reduces their sense of control over their own lives,” said Ang, a research assistant at Duke-NUS.

Malhotra and Ang suggested that in order for social support to improve the overall mental health of older adults, both care-givers and policy-makers should be aware of both its negative and positive effects.

“Our findings have implications for policy-makers because it points toward the importance of crafting policies and encouraging ways to provide support to older persons that can help them maintain their sense of control over their own lives,” said senior author Malhotra.

“We need to think of ways in which we can help older adults without increasing their sense of dependence,” he added.

The new findings are contrary to the common notion that more social support is always good.


Next Story

Here’s Why Some Young Adults Engage in Unsafe Sex

The findings may help explain why some young people engage in unsafe sex even though they are aware of the risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, cervical cancer and unplanned pregnancy


Factors such as gender, sexual orientation and the desire to form lasting romantic relationships appear to influence sexual risk-taking among young adults, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, categorised people into three groups — heterosexual men, heterosexual women, and homosexual men — and found that all three had a preference for different condom negotiation strategies.

Heterosexual men tended to choose more passive strategies (and were most likely to agree to sex without a condom); heterosexual women tended to choose more assertive strategies (like withholding sex).

Homosexual men tended to aim for a balance, choosing more verbal strategies than heterosexual men, but selecting strategies that were not confrontational.

The findings also explain some of the motives and reasoning that influence risky behaviours. For example, the study found that heterosexual women were more willing to take risks when the couple has a stronger relationship motivation.

Birth rate increases after 9 months
Couple’s interest in sex may increase during Christmas as well. Wikimedia commons

“It is particularly striking that women had lower expectations that their partner would be interested in condom use – this highlights how challenging heterosexual women expect the negotiation of condom use to be,” said lead author Shayna Skakoon-Sparling from the University of Guelph, Canada.

For the study, the team involved 157 heterosexual men, 177 heterosexual women, and 106 homosexual men, aged between 18-25 years.

Also Read- Sweetened Beverages May Increase Risk of Early Death: Study

Participants were presented with a vignette describing an encounter with a hypothetical new sexual or romantic partner and were asked to rate their attitudes and likelihood of choosing particular courses of action, as well as their relationship motivation.

The findings may help explain why some young people engage in unsafe sex even though they are aware of the risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, cervical cancer and unplanned pregnancy. (IANS)