The effect of long-term (im) balance of giving versus receiving support with non-relatives on subjective well-being among home-dwelling older people

Wenran Xia*, Jeroen van Wijngaarden, Robbert Huijsman, Martina Buljac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives:

While many studies have explored the benefits of support giving or receiving for
older people, little is known about how the balance between giving and receiving
instrumental support in non-relative relationships affects home-dwelling older people. This
study examines the relation between long-term support balance and subjective well-being in
relationships with non-relatives among older people across 11 European countries.

Method:

4,650 Participants aged 60 years and above from three waves of the Survey of
Health and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) were included. Support balance was calculated as
the intensity difference between support received and support given across three waves.
Multiple auto-regressive analyses were conducted to test the relationship between support
balance and subjective well-being, as indicated by quality of life, depression, and life
satisfaction.

Results:

The impact of balanced versus imbalanced support on all subjective well-being
measurements was not significantly different. Compared to balanced support, imbalanced
receiving was negatively related to subjective well-being and imbalanced giving was not
related to better subjective well-being. Compared to imbalanced receiving, imbalanced giving
showed to be the more beneficial for all subjective well-being measures.

Discussion:

Our results highlight the beneficial role of imbalanced giving and balanced
support for older people compared to imbalanced receiving. Policies and practices should
prioritize creating an age-friendly environment that promotes active participation and mutual
support among older people, as this may be effective to enhance their well-being.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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