Effects of Social Support and Personal Coping Resources on Depressive Symptoms: Different for Various Chronic Diseases?

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Abstract

Effects of psychosocial coping resources on depressive symptoms were examined and compared in older persons with no chronic disease or with recently symptomatic diabetes mellitus, lung disease, cardiac disease, arthritis, or cancer. The 719 persons without diseases reported less depressive symptoms than the chronically ill. Direct favorable effects on depressive symptoms were found for having a partner, having many close relationships, greater feelings of mastery, greater self-efficacy expectations, and high self-esteem. Buffer effects were observed for feelings of mastery, having many diffuse relationships, and receiving emotional support. Buffer effects were differential across diseases for emotional support (in cardiac disease and arthritis only) and for diffuse relationships (in lung disease). Receiving instrumental support was associated with more depressive symptoms, especially in diabetes patients.

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