Social support and the maintenance of competence

Discusses social relations and their function to help or hinder the individual's ability to cope with the challenges of age. This chapter begins with an introduction and overview of some of the works in the field of social relations. The authors provide a summary of the generally accepted findings in the field and review the conceptual and methodological limitations of previous work. To provide a theoretical overview, they present two conceptual models that have guided much of the empirical investigations reported in this chapter. These are the life-span developmental framework of Convoys of Social Relations and the Support/Efficacy Model of Social Relations. Using these theoretical perspectives as a base, they suggest how social relations may help the older person maintain competence in a variety of life situations across the health continuum. Finally, they speculate about how these theoretical perspectives might be used to design and develop both preventions and intervention programs that will be effective in helping the individual maximize competency. (from the chapter); The discussion is followed by 2 commentaries. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)