Relationships between social support and depression, and quality of life of the elderly in a rural community in Malaysia

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Abstract

Introduction:

This study aimed to examine the role of social support and depression in predicting the quality of life among the elderly living in a rural Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) community in Malaysia.

Methods:

A total of 162 elderly settlers of FELDA Sungai Tengi, aged 60 years and above, were selected by universal sampling method in this cross-sectional study. Three standardized instruments – the 12-item Short Form (SF-12), 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) and Medical Outcome Study Social Support (MOS-Social Support) – were used to assess for quality of life, depression and social support.

Results:

Quality of life of the elderly people in this community was high, especially in terms of physical components as compared to mental components. The mean scores for emotional role in the SF-12 was relatively the highest (90.74 ± 21.59) with social functioning being the lowest (30.35 ± 22.29). The results also showed that the mean value was higher for physical component summary (74.40) as compared to mental component summary (51.51). Approximately 23.5% suffered mild depression and only 2.5% had severe depression.

Discussion:

This study showed that the elderly FELDA settlers have a high quality of life, mainly on the physical components of life and low rate of severe depression, a positive indicator of their psychological well-being. Social support in the form of emotional/informational support, and depression were significant factors related to their good quality of life.

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