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Hacia la Promoción de la Salud

Print version ISSN 0121-7577

Abstract

CURCIO BORRERO, Carmen Lucía. INFORMAL SOCIAL SUPPORT, HEALTH AND FUNCTIONALITY IN THE ELDERLY PERSON. Hacia promoc. Salud [online]. 2008, vol.13, n.1, pp.42-58. ISSN 0121-7577.

There are many approaches to define social support. It has been defined in terms of activities, behaviors, relations or interactions, as well as in social relation quality. In spite of the diversity of definitions, there is a consensus on social support as a complex and multidimensional concept related to the quality of social relations, conducted in formal and informal manners. Formal social support corresponds to private or governmental organizations, instituted by the social-political structures of the state. Informal social support is provided by family, friends, relatives and neighbors, making up the main source of support of elderly people. In spite of the growing interest of investigators to establish links between social relations in general and informal social support, with health and functionality, the researches on the way these processes have affected each other, present some inconsistencies and confusions, probably caused by the complex phenomena, the diversity of approaches and concepts used. Even though within gerontology there is sufficient evidence of relation between these three processes (informal social support, health conditions and functionality), some problems that limited the research are presented, which contribute to produce contradictory results, as well as making the application and transference of results difficult.

Keywords : Elderly persons; social support; functionality; health.

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