Effects of social support and personal coping resources on mortality in older age: The longitudinal aging study Amsterdam

Brenda W.J.H. Penninx*, Theo Van Tilburg, Didi M.W. Kriegsman, Dorly J.H. Deeg, A. Joan P. Boeke, Jacques Th M. Van Eijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study focuses on the role of social support and personal coping resources in relation to mortality among older persons in the Netherlands. Data are from a sample of 2,829 noninstitutionalized people aged between 55 and 85 years who took part in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam in 1992- 1995. Social support was operationally defined by structural, functional, and perceived aspects, and personal coping resources included measures of mastery, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Mortality data were obtained during a follow-up of 29 months, on average. Cox proportional hazards regression models revealed that having fewer feelings of loneliness and greater feelings of mastery are directly associated with a reduced mortality risk when age, sex chronic diseases, use of alcohol, smoking, self-rated health, and functional limitations are controlled for. In addition, persons who received a moderate level of emotional support (odds ratio (OR) = 0.49, 95% confidence interval (Cl) 0.33-0.72) and those who received a high level of support (OR = 0.68, 95% Cl 0.47-0.98) had reduced mortality risks when compared with persons who received a low level of emotional support. Receipt of a high level of instrumental support was related to a higher risk of death (OR = 1.74, 95% Cl 1.12-2.69). Interaction between disease status and social support or personal coping resources on mortality could not be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-519
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 1997

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