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The Gerontologist, Vol 39, Issue 1 94-103, Copyright © 1999 by The Gerontological Society of America


ARTICLES

Perceived social control as a mediator of the relationships among social support, psychological well-being, and perceived health

TL Bisconti and CS Bergeman
Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Indiana 46556, USA. bisconti.1@nd.edu

The purpose of the present study was to delineate the process by which social support facilitates better health outcomes in older adulthood. In order to best understand the process behind the support-outcome relationship, an aspect of perceived control specific to the social domain was hypothesized to mediate the said relationship. Measures of social support included quantity of support from family and friends and the perceived satisfaction with that support. Outcome measures included depression, life satisfaction, and self-reported perceived physical health. Based on previous research, the hypothesized model of control serving as a mediator was tested against two alternative hypotheses including an examination of control as a moderator of the support- outcome relationship as well as support as a mediator of the control- outcome relationship. Results indicated that perceived control mediates the support-outcome relationship in two independent samples, each comprised of approximately 250 adults older than 65, primarily Caucasian and functioning independently, illustrating the strong replicative nature of the findings. This examination begins to illuminate the process by which social support may facilitate well- being in older adulthood by focusing on the internal structures that may play a crucial role in the utilization of the social support.


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