Stephen Neville, BA(Nursing), MA(Hons), RCpN, FCNA(NZ) Lecturer, School of Health Sciences - Albany, Massey University
Fiona Alpass, BA, MA(Hons), PhD Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Massey University, Palmerston North
Along with an increase in the older population comes a concomitant increase in the number of people for whom issues relating to well-being, for example, stress and social relationships become more salient. In this study, relationships between stress, social support and psychological well-being in men over the age of 65 years were investigated. A convenience sample of 217 men over the age of 65 years, living in a small New Zealand city took part in the study. A questionnaire was used to gather information on stress, social support and psychological well-being, as well as biographical data. Data were analysed quantitatively. Results showed that both the men who were satisfied with the social support they received and those who reported low stress levels experienced higher levels of psychological well-being (p<.001). The number of people available to provide social support was not significantly related to psychological well-being. There were no significant interaction effects between stress, social support variables and psychological well-being, with each variable operating independently in relation to psychological well-being. It appeared that the older the men were the fewer social supports available to them, suggesting the importance of the quality of those supports in maintaining psychological well-being.
Key Words: Older men’s health, stress, social support, well-being.
New Zealand’s older adult population is gradually increasing (Melding, 1997; Ministry of Health, 1999; Ministry of Health, 2001). This trend is in line with a global increase in numbers of older people (Eliopoulos, 1997; Fleming, 1999). With the increase in the older population comes a concomitant increase in the number of people for whom issues relating to quality of life and well-being become more salient. Continued