Objectives: Assess the effects of social relationships on physical and mental health among the elderly in Taiwan. Methods: Using 4 waves of a survey of the elderly, we examine the relationship between social ties and perceived support and four health outcomes-mortality, functional status, self-assessed health, and depression. Results: Perceived support and social ties are related to health, but many of the apparent effects are attenuated in the presence of controls for prior health. However, positive perceptions about support are protective of mental (but not physical) health. Discussion: If baseline health is ignored, estimates of the effects of social relationships on health at a given stage of life are likely to be inflated by reverse causality or by effects occurring prior to baseline. Inclusion of controls for initial health reveals that, in general, the relationship between social support and health at the older ages in Taiwan is relatively modest.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies
- Perceived support
- Social support