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Sources and directions of social support and life satisfaction among solitary Chinese older adults in Hong Kong: the mediating role of sense of loneliness

Authors Bai X, Yang SY, Knapp M

Received 4 August 2017

Accepted for publication 1 October 2017

Published 4 January 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 63—71

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S148334

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Wu


Xue Bai,1 Shuyan Yang,2 Martin Knapp3

1Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Social Work, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China; 3Personal Social Services Research Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

Abstract: Based on survey data collected from 151 community-dwelling solitary Chinese older adults in Hong Kong, the present study used path analysis to examine the mediating role of sense of loneliness in the relationship between different sources and directions of social support and life satisfaction. The results showed that sense of loneliness mediated the effects of support from families, friends, and support for others on life satisfaction. In addition, a formal source of social support was not associated with life satisfaction among solitary older adults, although those with a more secure financial status had greater overall life satisfaction. These findings highlight the importance of enhancing awareness among social and health care service providers about the negative effects of insufficient social support on older adults’ sense of loneliness and life satisfaction. Family and friendship networks should be expanded for solitary older adults.

Keywords:
life satisfaction, path analysis, solitary older adults, sense of loneliness, social support

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