Social Support, Health, and Well-Being Among the Elderly: What is the Role of Negative Affectivity?

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We examined whether dispositional negative affectivity (NA) spuriously explains the relationships between perceived social support and self-reports of well-being (depression, loneliness, and life satisfaction) and physical health among the elderly. A sample of 100 elderly adults attending a senior community center completed measures of the aforementioned variables. Maximum likelihood path analyses and commonality analyses suggested that NA spuriously explains the relationship between social support and physical health. The relationships between social support and the three measures of psychological well-being remained significant even after controlling for NA. These findings suggest that NA is an important individual difference variable to attend to when assessing the social support and physical health of the elderly.


This article was originally published as Kahn, J. H., Hessling, R. M., & Russell, D. W. (2003). Social support, health, and well-being among the elderly: What is the role of negative affectivity? Personality and Individual Differences, 35(1), 5–17.