- Volume 39
The purpose of the study is to investigate kinds of social support provided by various types of family members, relationships between types of family support and personal variables of the elderly and structural variables of the family network, and the relationships between family support and depression of the elderly. Here, family included a spouse, sons and daughters and their spouses, grandchildren, siblings and parents of an older person. Social support consisted of emotional, instrumental, financial help and social companionship. Two-hundred-eight older persons of age 60 years and over were interviewed. The main results of the study were as follows: an older person's spouse tended to provide more for emotional support, sons for financial help, daughters-in-law for instrumental support, and daughters for emotional and financial support. Some elderly were also provided for emotional support by parents and siblings. Possibility of daughters-in-laws and grandchildren as support providers was also verified. Various factors among personal and network-structural characteristics were significantly related to many types of social support provided by various types of family members. In general, while younger female elders, elders with good IADL ability or more frequent contacts with family members tended to have social support from more family members, support from daughters-in-law was provided to the elderly with less functional abilities. Various types of social support from a spouse were significantly related to depression level of the elderly. Their depression level was more related to whether or not sons and daughters-in-law exist rather than whether or not they provide social support. Practical methods to increase family support for the elderly were discussed.