Sense of community and its relationship with psychological well-being in assisted living

Aging Ment Health. 2020 Oct;24(10):1645-1653. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2019.1647133. Epub 2019 Jul 30.


Objectives: Sense of community (SOC) is a comprehensive psychological assessment of the relationship between person and place and relates to positive psychological outcomes in community-living adults, but has not been tested in assisted living (AL). This study describes SOC, identifies associated factors, and explores the relationship between SOC and psychological well-being with a sample of AL residents.Method: Participants included 202 residents of 21 ALs. The Brief Sense of Community Scale, a multidimensional theory-based measure, assessed total SOC (Cronbach's α = .87; M = 25.89, SD = 6.08) and dimensions of SOC (i.e. need fulfillment, group membership, influence, and emotional connection).Results: A second-order confirmatory factor analysis supported the multidimensional theoretical framework of SOC with the current sample. While bivariate correlations and multiple regressions varied by dimension, social relationships, physical health, and decisional control in the move to AL consistently yielded positive relationships with SOC factors. In the final step of a hierarchical multiple regression, total SOC significantly related to psychological well-being (F(1, 192) = 7.92, p = .005); although, its contribution was small (3%) when accounting for relevant covariates.Conclusion: Key findings suggest that the most accepted framework of SOC with community-living adults can be applied to the AL setting, but requires additional theoretical and empirical work. Findings also provide preliminary support for the relationship between SOC and psychological well-being. The authors discuss implications for future research and clinical practice, including strategies to promote SOC for AL residents.

Keywords: Assisted living; person and place; psychological well-being; psychosocial wellness; sense of community.

MeSH terms

  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Sense of Coherence*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires