Effects of a program to prevent social isolation on loneliness, depression, and subjective well-being of older adults: a randomized trial among older migrants in Japan

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2012 Nov-Dec;55(3):539-47. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2012.04.002. Epub 2012 May 5.


Social isolation among the elderly is a concern in developed countries. Using a randomized trial, this study examined the effect of a social isolation prevention program on loneliness, depression, and subjective well-being of the elderly in Japan. Among the elderly people who relocated to suburban Tokyo, 63 who responded to a pre-test were randomized and assessed 1 and 6 months after the program. Four sessions of a group-based program were designed to prevent social isolation by improving community knowledge and networking with other participants and community "gatekeepers." The Life Satisfaction Index A (LSI-A), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Ando-Osada-Kodama (AOK) loneliness scale, social support, and other variables were used as outcomes of this study. A linear mixed model was used to compare 20 of the 21 people in the intervention group to 40 of the 42 in the control group, and showed that the intervention program had a significant positive effect on LSI-A, social support, and familiarity with services scores and a significant negative effect on AOK over the study period. The program had no significant effect on depression. The findings of this study suggest that programs aimed at preventing social isolation are effective when they utilize existing community resources, are tailor-made based on the specific needs of the individual, and target people who can share similar experiences.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Loneliness*
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Social Isolation*
  • Tokyo
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome