Perceived Stress, Social Support, and Dry Mouth Among US Older Chinese Adults

Weiyu Mao, Yiwei Chen, Bei Wu, Shaoqing Ge, Wei Yang, Iris Chi, Xinqi Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

OBJECTIVES
Dry mouth is a common condition among older adults that negatively influences oral health, general health, and quality of life. The role of psychosocial factors in oral health conditions and diseases remains largely unknown. We conducted a study to examine the relationship between perceived stress and dry mouth among US older Chinese adults and further investigated the potential moderating role of social support and social strain from different sources in the relationship.

DESIGN
Cross‐sectional analysis.

SETTING
Baseline of the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago, a community‐engaged, population‐based longitudinal study of health and well‐being among community‐dwelling US older Chinese adults.

PARTICIPANTS
Individuals 60 years or older (N = 3157).

MEASUREMENTS
Perceived stress was measured by the 10‐item Chinese Perceived Stress Scale to evaluate the degree to which life situations were perceived as stressful during the preceding month on a 5‐point scale, ranging from 0 (“never”) to 4 (“very often”). Dry mouth was a binary self‐reported outcome variable (1 = “dry mouth”). Social support was measured by the Health and Retirement Study's social support and strain scale from sources including spouse, other family members, and friends with a 3‐point response set, ranging from 0 (“hardly ever”) to 2 (“often”). Sociodemographics and disease processes were assessed as covariates. We conducted stepwise logistic regressions with interaction terms.

RESULTS
Having higher levels of perceived stress was significantly associated with a higher likelihood of reporting dry mouth (odds ratio = 1.03; 95% confidence interval = 1.02‐1.04). The effect of perceived stress on dry mouth may vary by levels of family and friend support.

CONCLUSION
Perceived stress may influence dry mouth either directly or indirectly. To prevent or reduce dry mouth, in addition to disease processes, interventions need to consider psychosocial factors in dry mouth, especially perceived stress and social support, in this growing population. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:S551–S556, 2019.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S551-S556
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume67
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

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