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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Aging and Social Support.docx

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Dalhousie University
Soc & Social Anthropology
SOSA 2503
Emma Whelan

Aging and Social Support Sept. 19 10/5/2013 9:06:00 AM Lecture Intro A vast majority of Canadians 93% - support a national, senior health strategy for home care & long team care, poll finds. - Life/world context, individual effects Social Support Research – biggest area of research - Social support literature: resources needed for coping, affect on life, bio & social (or lack thereof) - Interaction of biological and social factors  Loss of intimate partner – increases early, decreases immunity  Nurse’s touch can affect the blood pressure of patients  Lack of social support can make us sick  Social bonds can help to heal us Forms of Social Support - Instrumental and emotional forms - Parsons  Instrumental: practical, material ($, food), get enough sleep, healthy food etc.  Emotional: nurturing, value, cared for, encouragement, praise, mental and physical benefits, encouragement to exercise - Networks of obligation: have to help one another. How society becomes formed. Lack of social relations: discomfort, alienation, health implications - Social support and connection to the social order - Durkheim  Rates of suicide  Level of integration into society ie. Marital status, religious affiliation  Increased if single/divorced. Increased if Protestant.  Decreased social integration = Increased suicide rate  Social support = mediating factor - Does social isolation cause poor health? - Does poor health cause social isolation? Critiques - Context and quality make a difference:  Some marriages are supportive, some aren’t,  Close network of friends of a single person can be greater than an alienated marriage - Social support is not always beneficial  Over protected during health crisis, slow recovery  Close relationships = biggest problem, pressure to get back to where they were before illness, pressure to get well  Feel like competence undermined if getting a LOT of help, unable to reciprocate support - Neglect of structural factors - social class  Middle class more connected than working class  Economical difficulty – harder to be connected/networked - Ideological biases - "traditional" family  Placed on individual relationships, to get ill person better  Goes within family, no one else responsible for  Maintain/regain health = AT HOME or private spheres
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