The impact of social isolation on the health status and health-related quality of life of older people

Institute of Health Service Research, Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Exeter, Veysey Building, Salmon Pool Lane, Exeter, Devon EX2 4SG, UK.
Quality of Life Research (Impact Factor: 2.86). 02/2011; 20(1):57-67. DOI: 10.1007/s11136-010-9717-2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate for socially isolated older people, and older people at risk of social isolation: (1) health status and health-related quality of life (HRQL); (2) the relationship between social isolation and health status/HRQL; (3) the relationship between two alternative measures of health status/HRQL.
Older people at risk of social isolation (n = 393) completed the EQ-5D and the SF-12. Multiple regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship between levels of social isolation and health status/HRQL, controlling for demographic/clinical characteristics. The agreement between EQ-5D and SF-6D (SF-12) scores was explored using descriptive psychometric techniques.
Health status and health state values were much lower than UK general population age-matched norms. After controlling for depression, physical co-morbidities, age, gender, living alone status, employment and accommodation, social isolation was significantly associated, to a degree that was clinically relevant, with EQ-5D DSI, SF-6D (SF-12) and SF-12 MCS scores. The potential for ceiling effects on the EQ-5D with this population was identified.
This work highlights the burden that social isolation may have on the health and well-being of older people. The potential HRQL gains from addressing social isolation may be considerable, with those at risk of social isolation also a key target group.

1 Follower
  • Source
    • "International research has noted that social exclusion has social and economic implications for communities and taxpayers relating to reduced social cohesion and upward pressures on public spending (Social Inclusion Unit, 2001). Given that social exclusion in ageing impacts negatively on individual health and well-being (Hawton et al., 2011), this will have implications for communities, in the context of limited support services and the significance of older people's contributions to community sustainability (Davis & Bartlett, 2008). Furthermore, while research has noted that social capital and resilience are critical in terms of community adaptation to climate change, older people are often excluded from decision making processes regarding water adaptation (Tompkins & Adger, 2004). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Current Australian policy directives are aimed at building older people’s capacity to remain independent, healthy, and productive. However, in the context of increasing populations, climate variability, declining water supplies, and water price increases, there is concern that issues relating to water access and usage will impact capacity for healthy ageing in rural locations. Drawing on environmental gerontology, focus groups were used to explore the attitudes and behaviors of rural seniors relating to water use and management strategies in four rural communities located in north-east Victoria. Findings indicate that water is significant in the lives of rural seniors from both an aesthetic and resource-based perspective, and related to cultural and historical values. Thus, individual ability to manage water was a source of identity, with some water management policies seen as unjust and dissonant with current practices. These findings are critical in considering how macro-level policies impact human-environment interactions among vulnerable groups.
    Environment and Behavior 10/2013; DOI:10.1177/0013916513502355 · 1.27 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: 30 Ss were asked to represent figures starting from verbal instructions of lines and extract additional information from these images that was not present in the stimulus. Four correlations were obtained using Kendall's rank correlation coefficient between the amount of information contained in the stimuli and the number of correct responses by the Ss. Negative correlations were found in all the cases. The negative relation between the amount of information presented and the number of responses indicates Ss' limited ability to manage and manipulate responses. Results suggest that imagination cannot be considered an isolated process of event representations; it is an active process of bringing information from the past to the present that was not directly learned, using an active process of reconstruction. (12 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
    Revista latinoamericana de psicología · 0.64 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Social isolation affects a significant proportion of older people and is associated with poor health outcomes. The current evidence base regarding the effectiveness of interventions targeting social isolation is poor, and the potential utility of mentoring for this purpose has not previously been rigorously evaluated. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a community-based mentoring service for improving mental health, social engagement and physical health for socially isolated older people. This prospective controlled trial compared a sample of mentoring service clients (intervention group) with a matched control group recruited through general practice. One hundred and ninety five participants from each group were matched on mental wellbeing and social activity scores. Assessments were conducted at baseline and at six month follow-up. The primary outcome was the Short Form Health Survey v2 (SF-12) mental health component score (MCS). Secondary outcomes included the SF-12 physical health component score (PCS), EuroQol EQ-5D, Geriatric Depression Score (GDS-10), social activity, social support and morbidities. We found no evidence that mentoring was beneficial across a wide range of participant outcomes measuring health status, social activity and depression. No statistically significant between-group differences were observed at follow-up in the primary outcome (p = 0.48) and in most secondary outcomes. Identifying suitable matched pairs of intervention and control group participants proved challenging. The results of this trial provide no substantial evidence supporting the use of community mentoring as an effective means of alleviating social isolation in older people. Further evidence is needed on the effectiveness of community-based interventions targeting social isolation. When using non-randomised designs, there are considerable challenges in the recruitment of suitable matches from a community sample. SCIE Research Register for Social Care 105923.
    BMC Public Health 04/2011; 11:218. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-11-218 · 2.32 Impact Factor
Show more