Masters Thesis

Leisure Activity and Perceptions of Social Support in Older Adults with and Without Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a pervasive chronic pain condition that affects almost every aspect of daily life. Symptoms can be debilitating and severe, leading to precautionary and inactive lifestyles for those diagnosed. Perceived social support from loved ones has been shown to alleviate these negative symptoms and encourage pro-healthy behaviors. However, older adults with FM may react to both physical and psychosocial symptoms by reducing their participation in leisure activities, further limiting available sources of social support. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to evaluate the influence of FM status and leisure activity on social support. by conducting secondary analyses on a sample of 240 older adults with and without fibromyalgia, it was hypothesized that FM status would moderate the relationship between social support and leisure activity. Results revealed that participants with fibromyalgia did report significantly less available social support compared to the healthy control group. Additionally, a positive association between leisure activity and social support was found when controlling for FM status. However, FM status did not moderate the relationship between leisure activity and social support. Despite this lack of impact by FM status, these findings provide additional support to the current literature suggesting that social support is linked with both chronic pain and leisure activity.

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