222664 Ties that Bind: Social Relationships and Emotional Well-Being Among Middle Aged and Older African Americans

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Jan Warren-Findlow, PhD , Department of Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
James N. Laditka, DA, PhD, MPA , Health Services Reserach Doctoral Program Director, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Sarah B. Laditka, PhD , Associate Professor and MHA Program Director, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Michael E. Thompson, MS, DrPH , Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Social relationships with partners, family members, and friends may enhance emotional health. We studied associations between the type, contact frequency and quality of social relationships and self-rated emotional health among middle age and older African Americans. Data were from the Milwaukee African American sample of the second Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS II) study, 2005-2006 (n=592). The outcome was self-reported emotional health (SREH). Social relationships were measured by type (marital, family, friend), contact frequency, and quality (levels of support and strain). Logistic regression controlled for demographic characteristics, types of lifetime and daily discrimination, neighborhood quality, and psychosocial characteristics. About 63% of respondents were women; the average age was 51.7 (standard deviation 11.9). Nearly 84% reported good, very good, or excellent SREH; we compared this group to those with fair or poor SREH. In adjusted results, each increase on a family emotional support scale was associated with 106% greater odds of having better SREH (odds ratio, OR 2.06, 95% confidence interval, CI 1.33-3.18). Each additional type of daily discrimination was associated with 16% lower odds of having better SREH (OR 0.84, CI 0.74-0.95). Family support buffered this negative effect; among individuals with limited family support, each type of daily discrimination experienced was associated with 53% lower odds of having better SREH (OR 0.47, CI 0.28-0.79). Health practitioners and social services providers should ask about African Americans' emotional support, and communicate the importance of social ties for well-being, particularly given negative effects of discrimination for those with limited social ties.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate types of social relationships and their effects on emotional health. Identify significant factors influencing the emotional health of African Americans. Explain the role of social support in buffering negative effects of discrimination.

Keywords: Well-Being, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the data analyst and first author for this paper. My research focuses on the health of African Americans.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.