Stress can negatively affect multiple aspects of health, including functional health, among older adults, who are likely to face unique, age-related stressful experiences. Previous research has addressed the protective effects of social relations (i.e., social ties, social participation, and social integration) for physical and mental health outcomes, yet few studies have examined functional health. This study aimed to investigate the longitudinal stress-buffering effects of social integration on late-life functional health. Using three-wave data from 399 older adults (aged older than 60 years), two-level hierarchical linear modeling analysis was conducted and the results indicated that in addition to its main effect on functional (activity of daily living) limitations, social integration moderated the negative effect of stress on the longitudinal trajectory of functional limitations. The findings suggest important directions of future research to identify the mechanisms of such buffering effects over time and develop effective interventions to enhance late-life functional health while promoting social integration.
Toyama M, Fuller HR. Longitudinal Stress-Buffering Effects of Social Integration for Late-Life Functional Health. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development. 2020;91(4):501-519. doi:10.1177/0091415019871196
This is the authors’ peer-reviewed manuscript. The version of record is available from the publisher at https://doi.org/10.1177/0091415019871196. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Sage Journals retain sole distribution rights over the published version of record.