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Journal Article


Chruściel P, Kulik T, Jakubowska K, Nalepa D. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(6): ePub.


Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, State Higher Vocational School Memorial of Prof. Stanisław Tarnowski in Tarnobrzeg, 39-400 Tarnobrzeg, Poland.


(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Introduction and objective: Social support constitutes an important determinant of an elderly person’s health and of functioning in his or her living environment. It depends on available support networks and the type of help received. Measurement of social support should encompass both its structure and the functions it fulfills, which enables detailed assessment of the phenomenon. The aim of the study was to compare the perception of social support among rural area seniors provided with institutional care with those living in a home setting. Material and method: Using the diagnostic survey method and the technique of the distribution of a direct questionnaire, 364 respondents from rural areas were examined: those living in an institutional environment (n = 190) and those living in their home (natural) environment (n = 174). The respondents were selected on the basis of a combined sampling method: proportionate, stratified, and systematic. Variables were measured with the following questionnaires: Courage Social Network Index (CSNI) and Social Support Scale (SSS). Results: The living environment has been proved to differentiate average values of support both in the structural and functional dimensions in a statistically significant way (p < 0.001). An untypical phenomenon was higher average values pertaining to emotional bonds, frequency of direct contacts, and help received in the group of respondents living in an institutional environment. Conclusions: The living environment and demographic variables affect the perception of social support among elderly people. Full-time institutional care of a senior citizen leads to the deterioration of social support; therefore, keeping an elderly person in a home environment should be one of the primary goals of the senior policy.

Language: en


elderly; institutional care; long-term care; social networks; social support


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