Identifying the relationship between social support and nutritional risk in vulnerable community-living seniors

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Fan, Karen
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University of Guelph

This secondary data analysis examines whether informal and/or formal supports are significant covariates having an independent effect on nutritional risk, whether they mediate the relationships between identified stressors and nutritional risk, and/or whether they are effect modifiers of these stressors. Utilizing the data set from the PREVENTS research project, descriptive, bivariate and multivariate analysis of baseline data were performed. Informal support independently predicted nutritional risk while considering the potential stressors and other important covariates. It also mediated the associations between nutritional risk and some stressors (perceived health and functional ability). In contrast, formal support appeared only as an effect modifier for some stressors (perceived health, number of health conditions, diet restrictions, and perceived money for food). This research demonstrates the diverse influence of social support on nutritional risk in vulnerable elders and also the complex relationship between social support and nutritional risk.

informal supports, formal supports, nutritional risk, stressors, covariates, vulnerable elders