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Social Network Types and Health among Older Adults in Rural China: The Mediating Role of Social Support



Social Network Types and Health among Older Adults in Rural China: The Mediating Role of Social Support



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16(3):



This study aimed to identify social network types among older adults in rural China, to explore the relationship between social network types and the health of the older adults, and further, to examine the mediating role of social support in this relationship. A cross-sectional survey method was employed to investigate the health of adults aged 60 or older in rural areas of Hubei Province from 5 September 2018 to 15 October 2018; 405 samples were obtained. First, using k-means clustering analysis, we found five robust network types: diverse, restricted, family, friends and a specific type-family-restricted. Second, the results of multiple linear regression analysis showed that social network types were significantly associated with depressive symptoms and self-rated health in older adults. Older people with diverse friend networks were significantly associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms, whereas those with restricted and family-restricted networks were significantly associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms and lower levels of self-rated health. Finally, the results of multiple linear regression analysis confirmed that social support partially mediated the association of the identified social network types with depressive symptoms and self-rated health. Enriching the social network relationships of older adults and providing them with more social support should be conducive to promoting their mental and physical health.

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Accession: 066450519

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30709015

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16030410


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