Measuring the communication of social support from adult children.


Further knowledge of the nature and significance of the relationships of elderly persons to their adult children requires the application of social support scales tapping the quality and content of their interactions. Scaling efforts must further address conceptual and operational specification, the differentiation of sources and dimensions of support, the objectification of self-report scales, and construct validity. Respondents to this survey are a community, stratified probability sample of adults aged 50 and older (N = 1,174). Measures employed include 2 items reflecting instrumental support and 17 items designed to tap Cobb's (1976) definition of expressive support as consisting of information that one is loved, esteemed, and embedded in a social relationship characterized by mutual caring and obligation. Factor analyses consistently discern one instrumental and three expressive dimensions of support: Caring and Concern, Social Integration, and Love and Affection. These subscales are differentially correlated with sociodemographic characteristics of the parents and adult children, as well as with depression and disability. Implications of these and other findings are discussed.

Cite this paper

@article{Dean1989MeasuringTC, title={Measuring the communication of social support from adult children.}, author={Anne Dean and Bohdan Kolody and Priscilla Wood and W M Ensel}, journal={Journal of gerontology}, year={1989}, volume={44 2}, pages={S71-9} }