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The role of health status and other variables on social networks among late adult men

Paul Andrew Bourne, C. Morris, Jannine Campbell-Smith, Gillian Heaven.

Background: Social networks and the social support that emanate from these networks are important determinants of health status. However, the relationship between social networks and health status of elderly men in Jamaica is an under researched area. Aims: This study seeks to understand the role of social network in the lives of older men in Jamaica as well as how health, depression, happiness, activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) and other variables influence on social networks. Methods: A 132-item questionnaire that included items, on social network, happiness, health status, ADL and IDL education and other demographic variables was used to collect the data. A multistage sample of 2000 older men 55 years and older from the parish of St. Catherine, Jamaica was used for this study. Results: The majority of men in the sample have low functional dependence but good health status, and high cognitive functionality. There are five predictors of the role social networks. These predictors are health advice (OR = 2.21, 95%CI: 1.09 - 4.49), functional status (OR = 0.84, 95%CI: 0.71 - 1.00), health plan (OR = 0.02, 95%CI: 0.01 - 0.10), number of siblings alive (brothers - OR = 12.31, 95%CI:3.07 - 49.29; sisters - OR = 0.18, 95%CI: 0.05 - 0.58) and depression (OR = 2.48, 95%CI: 1.29 - 4.78). Conclusions: This study can provide the bedrock upon which policies and programmes can be designed to aid older men.

Key words: ADL, Functional dependence, IADL, self-rated health status, social network, social support, elderly, men, Jamaica

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