Providing social support may be more beneficial than receiving it: Results from a prospective study of mortality

This study examines the relative contributions of giving versus receiving support to longevity in a sample of older married adults (husband aged 65+ yrs). Baseline indicators of giving and receiving support were used to predict mortality status over a 5-year period in the Changing Lives of Older Couples sample. Results from logistic regression analyses indicated that mortality was significantly reduced for individuals who reported providing instrumental support to friends, relatives, and neighbors, and individuals who reported providing emotional support to their spouse. Receiving support had no effect on mortality once giving support was taken into consideration. This pattern of findings was obtained after controlling for demographic, personality, health, mental health, and marital-relationship variables. These results have implications for understanding how social contact influences health and longevity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)