Health Services Utilization Among Chinese American Older Adults: Moderation of Social Support With Functional Limitation

Jinjiao Wang, Dexia Kong, Benjamin C. Sun, Xinqi Dong

Publication Date: 01/01/2018

In this study, we aimed to examine the relationship of social support with hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits among older Chinese adults in the United States and its possible mechanism. This was a secondary analysis of data from the Population Study of Chinese Elderly (July 2011-June 2013; N = 3,157). After adjusting for demographic, clinical, and functional covariates in logistic regression analyses, significant interaction between social support from spouse and the number of functional limitations in (instrumental) activities of daily living was related to lower odds of hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] = 0.97 [0.95-0.99]) and ED visits (OR = 0.98 [0.96-0.99]). This finding suggests that among older Chinese American adults with functional limitations, more spousal support was related to lower odds of hospitalizations and ED visits. Future studies should comprehensively measure social support (e.g., content, amount) from other sources and investigate how unnecessary acute health service utilization in this population may be reduced by social support interventions.