The purpose of this study is to identify the amount of social support and quality of life perceived by elderly people in rural areas and to examine the relationship between social support and quality of life in an effort to provide the basic data for effective nursing intervention to enhance quality of life among elderly people. Data were collected from a sample of 220 elderly people aged over 60 from a stratified probability method from one rural area in South Jeolla province from Aug. 15 to Sep. 15, 2002. For data collection, pre-educated researchers visited the participants' homes and surveyed them face-to-face. The statistical analysis was performed using the SAS program along with t-test, ANOVA, and Pearson Correlation. The findings were as follows: 1. The most socially supportive people they answered were Spouses (57.28%), followed by children, friends/neighbors, in descending order. In terms of satisfaction about social support, the subjects felt the most satisfaction from spouses, followed by friends/neighbors, children, in descending order. 2. The participants' perceived social support was 26.0 and the highest score was 108.0 out of 125. Also, the average score and average grade point was 81.7 and 3.35, respectively. A comparison of the average grade points per items within sub-areas of social support revealed financial aid(3.56), informative support(3.34), emotional support (3.27), and evaluation support(3.22). 3. Their perceived social support had statistically significant differences in terms of how much they earned (F=18.56, p= .00001) and whether they had family members living together (F=2.68, p= .0512), quality of life had statistically significant differences in terms of how much they earned (F=35.34, p= 0.00001). 4. The quality of life they perceived was the lowest score 47.0, the highest score 196.0, average score 145.7, and average grade points 3.28. A comparison of the average grade points per items within sub-areas of quality of life revealed neighbor relationships(3.97), self-esteem(3.49), family relationships(3.35), economic conditions 3.12), physical health (2.98), and psychological health(2.74). 5. The relationship between the amount of the subjects' social support and quality of life was significantly correlated (r=.696, p< .001). The findings revealed that social support for elderly people in rural areas was a greatly effective factor on their quality, of life. Also, it was shown that the larger the social support for the elderly, the greater the quality of life for them. Therefore, it is necessary to foster geriatric nurse specialists and develop nursing intervention programs connected with health care and social wellbeing in order to enhance the quality of life of elderly people in rural areas. Also, it is necessary to develop effective models for community and its applications, which will playa leading role for elderly people.
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