Influences on Psychological Well-being for Elders Receiving Family Assistance

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Virginia Tech

We investigated the effects of personal and social resources on the psychological well being of 359 rural older adults living in their own homes with some functional limitations and receiving assistance from relatives or friends. Personal resources included health, importance of religion, endorsement of filial responsibility norms, and attitudes toward community services. Social resources were number of informal helpers, frequency and duration of receiving assistance, emotional closeness to helpers, availability of someone to check on the elder, and having someone to trust and confide in. Depression, 4 Ryff subscales, self-esteem, and quality of life were markers of psychological well being. The findings indicate that the interactional aspects of receiving help are not particularly influential on the elders’ well being. Rather, in the context of receiving informal support, their personal characteristics have fundamental impact on their happiness. This implies that the informal help that elders receive does not threaten their sense of self.