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Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, neurodegenerative disorder that leads to increasing debilitation over time. Previous research has shown that care partners of persons with PD are at risk for developing loneliness. Based on the Optimal Matching Model of Social Support (Cutrona & Russell, 1990), the primary aim of this study was to determine the types of social support that are associated with loneliness in this sample which, in turn, may lead to interventions designed to help care partners deal with feelings of loneliness.
Methods: A survey was mailed to care partners of persons with PD on the contact list of a regional Parkinson’s association. Response rate was 39%. Only responses from those who lived with the patient were included in the analyses (n=70). Standard measures of loneliness, perceived social support, questions related to care partners’ perspectives on patients’ disease status, and demographic information were included in the analyses.
Results: Linear regression analyses were conducted to determine which of five types of social support predicted loneliness. Results indicated that Attachment (which reflects emotional support) and Social Integration (which reflects network support) were significant predictors.Conclusions: Findings indicate that care partners may benefit from specific types of support to lessen feelings of loneliness.
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