Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Phillip Clark

Abstract

Little research has explored factors indirectly related to health that may influence self-rated health (SRH) in older adults. Even less research has explored the relationship between perceived social support and SRH. The purpose of this study was to explore a health-related factor, depression, and an indirectly related to health factor, social support, as predictors of self-rated health in older adults. It explored three primary research questions: 1) Are there significant differences in older adults’ SRH scores when examined by demographic factors such as age, education, and marital status? 2) Are depression and social support correlated with SRH and is one more strongly correlated? 3) If depression and social support are correlated with SRH, how much do they explain SRH after controlling for demographic factors? This study used a subsample (n=577) of older adults aged 60 years and older from the national Aging, Status, and Sense of Control study conducted by Mirowsky and Ross in 2001. Analyses found significant differences in SRH scores only by differences in education. Both depression and social support were found to be correlated with SRH, though depression was found to be more strongly correlated. A regression analysis found that depression and education predicted SRH scores, but social support did not.

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