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Exploring the Stress-Buffering Effects of Church-Based and Secular Social Support on Self-Related Health in Late Life

Publication Abstract

Krause, Neal. 2006. "Exploring the Stress-Buffering Effects of Church-Based and Secular Social Support on Self-Related Health in Late Life." Journals of Gerontology Series B - Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61(1): S35-S43.

Objectives. The purpose of this study is to see if emotional support received from fellow church members and emotional support from secular social networks reduce the effects of financial strain on self-rated health. A second goal is to determine if church-based social support is a more important coping resource for older Blacks than for older Whites.

Methods. The data conic front the second wave of interviews with a nationwide sample of older people. Two groups of older adults are included in the analyses: Older Christians who go to church more than twice a year (N = 548) and older people who do not go to church as frequently (N = 238).

Results. The data suggest that support from fellow Church members tends to reduce the impact of financial strain on self-rated health, but support front secular network members falls to exert a similar effect. The findings also reveal that the stress-buffering effects of church-based support emerge among older Blacks, but not older Whites.

Discussion. The findings front this study suggest that there may be something relatively unique about support that is provided by fellow church members.

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