Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-29-2021

Document Type



Akers, E. 2021. The Role of Social Support and Health Promotion Behaviors For U.S. Aging Adults, Honors Undergraduate Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Erika Akers 2021.


Background and Objectives: Perceived social support may influence health outcomes among older adults by influencing the practice of health-related behaviors, including preventive and lifestyle behaviors. This study examines how social support influences health behaviors in the aging United States (U.S.) population.

Methods: I analyzed data from 4,891 respondents aged 50 and older in the 2014-2016 Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of midlife and older adults. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between positive social support and health behaviors by gender.

Results: Results show that the role of children’s positive social support is important for the engagement of moderate and vigorous physical activity for both men and women.

Discussion: These findings contribute to current research and bode the importance of social support related interventions within public health efforts to address population health disparities through the social determinants of health (SDOH) frameworks.