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New study explores role of sexual, social behaviors in seniors' well-being
Date:12/18/2009

Researchers and the general public have a new resource for information on the health and intimate relationships of older people, thanks to a new supplemental issue of The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences (Volume 64B, Supplement 1).

Based on the groundbreaking National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), the supplement's 14 articles focus on demographic characteristics; social networks; social and cultural activity; physical and mental health, including cognition, well-being, illness, medications, and alternative therapies; history of sexual and intimate partnerships; and patient-physician communication.

"The NSHAP represents an extraordinary contribution to the study of aging, and published findings from it have already shed new light on critical issues in social gerontology from abuse to sexuality, said Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences Editor Kenneth F. Ferraro, PhD, of Purdue University. "A truly distinctive feature of the study is the collection of several biomeasures on a national sample."

The NSHAP is a unique, interdisciplinary effort to collect social data alongside biological indicators in a population-based sample of older adults. The study collected 13 biomeasures, including the assessment of respondents' weight, waist circumference, height, blood pressure, distance vision, smell, touch, and mobility. NSHAP also collected blood spots, saliva, oral fluid for HIV testing, and, from female respondents, a self-administered vaginal swab.

Sexuality among older adults tended to vary with age and gender. At all ages in the study, men were more likely than women to have a p
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Contact: Todd Kluss
tkluss@geron.org
202-587-2839
The Gerontological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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