The relation of social isolation, loneliness, and social support to disease outcomes among the elderly

J Aging Health. 2006 Jun;18(3):359-84. doi: 10.1177/0898264305280993.

Abstract

Objective: This study examined relations between social isolation, loneliness, and social support to health outcomes in a sample of New Mexico seniors.

Method: We used random-digit dialing to obtain a random sample of 755 southern New Mexico seniors. Participants answered questions pertaining to demographics, social isolation and loneliness, social support, and disease diagnosis including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, liver disease, arthritis, emphysema, tuberculosis, kidney disease, cancer, asthma, and stroke. The sample allowed for comparison of Caucasian and Hispanic participants.

Results: Correlational and logistic analyses indicated that belongingness support related most consistently to health outcomes. Ethnic subgroup analysis revealed similarities and differences in the pattern of associations among the predictor and outcome variables.

Discussion: The results demonstrate the importance of social variables for predicting disease outcomes in the elderly and across ethnic groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ethnic Groups
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Family
  • Health Status*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology
  • Humans
  • New Mexico / ethnology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Social Isolation* / psychology
  • Social Support*