Low level social engagement as a precursor of mortality among people in later life

Age Ageing. 2002 May;31(3):165-8. doi: 10.1093/ageing/31.3.165.


Objective: to examine if a low level of social engagement is a precursor for mortality.

Methods: a case-control design, controlling for physical health, age and sex examining social engagement and morale. We took measures on 3 occasions, 4 years apart.

Results: a low level of social engagement was an important precursor of 8-year mortality. There were intermediate significant differences for social engagement, physical health and morale.

Conclusions: levels of social engagement either have a direct effect on mortality, or represent hidden health problems, acting as a marker for later ill health. Social engagement may also have a role in intermediate declines in physical health and morale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires