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Social support and family functioning: a cross-sectional study of older people in the context of COVID-19

Abstract

Objective

To determine the association between perceived social support and family functioning in older people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method

A cross-sectional study was carried out of 72 participants aged ≥60 years enrolled at an Open University of the Third Age (U3A) in the interior of Sao Paulo state, Brazil. The variables analyzed were socioeconomic and demographic conditions, social support (Medical Outcomes Study Scale), and family functioning (Family APGAR). The Chi-Square, Mann-Whitney, and Multivariate Poisson Regression tests were used for data analysis, with a significance level of 5%.

Results

The type of support with the highest mean scores was affectionate (95.1 points) while the lowest was emotional (87.4 points). Family dysfunction rate was 22.2%. For every additional point of affectionate support score, there was a decrease in the probability of presenting family dysfunction (OR=0.96; p=0.001).

Conclusion

Affectionate support was associated with family functioning. These findings highlight the importance of identifying family structure, dynamics, and relationships in planning comprehensive health care for the older population.

Keywords
Aged; Family Relations; Social Support; Universities; COVID-19

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