Article

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.

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