Loneliness and social isolation causal association with health-related lifestyle risk in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The health impacts of loneliness and social isolation among older adults are widely acknowledged. Despite this, there is no consensus on the possible causal nature of this relationship, which could undermine effectiveness of interventions. One body of thought is that loneliness and social isolation affect health-related behaviours to indirectly damage health. However, there has not been any systematic assessment of the association between loneliness and social isolation and health-related behaviours which considers the possible impact from confounding factors and the causal direction of this association. METHODS/DESIGN:The research will comprise a systematic review and meta-analysis to address the evidence gap. EMBASE, MEDLINE, PSYCINFO, CINAHL, SocIndex, Scopus and Web of Science will be systematically searched for quantitative observational studies considering an association between loneliness/social isolation and key health-related behaviours in older adults. Two reviewers will independently check the study titles and abstracts for eligibility. Included studies will be critically appraised using Newcastle-Ottawa Scale by the lead author and checked by the second reviewer. Discrepancies in eligibility or quality assessment will be resolved via discussion or referral to a third reviewer. Results will be synthesised and reported in accordance with the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) guidelines. This will be in the form of a descriptive summary, risk of bias assessment together with a meta-analysis and sub-group analyses (for covariate adjusted results) where sufficient heterogeneity of results is established. Finally, any associations identified will be analysed using the Bradford-Hill criteria to explore causal relationships which, if they exist, will be reported by means of a computed causations score. DISCUSSION:This review aims to assess the extent and causal nature of associations between loneliness/social isolation and health-related behaviours among older adults. This data will provide a comprehensive overview of the quality of the evidence base to inform stakeholders in tackling the growing public health challenges arising from loneliness/social isolation in ageing populations. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:PROSPERO CRD42017020845.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Social isolation and loneliness affect approximately one-third to one-half of the elderly population and have a negative impact on their physical and mental health. Group-based interventions where facilitators are well trained and where the elderly are actively engaged in their development seem to be more effective, but conclusions have been limited by weak study designs. We aim to conduct a systematic review to assess the effectiveness of health promotion interventions on social isolation or loneliness in older people. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:A systematic review was conducted in Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, LILACS, OpenGrey and the Cochrane Library on peer-reviewed studies and doctoral theses published between 1995 and 2016 evaluating the impact of health promotion interventions on social isolation and/or loneliness for individuals aged 60 and over. Two reviewers will independently assess each study for inclusion and disagreements will be resolved by a third reviewer. Data will be extracted using a predefined pro forma following best practice. Study quality will be assessed with the Effective Public Health Practice Project quality assessment tool. A narrative synthesis of all studies will be presented by type of outcome (social isolation or loneliness) and type of intervention. If feasible, the effectiveness data will be synthesised using appropriate statistical techniques. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:This systematic review is exempt from ethics approval because the work is carried out on published documents. The findings of the review will be disseminated in a related peer-reviewed journal and presented at conferences. They will also contribute to a DPhil thesis. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:CRD42016039650.
Project description:The importance of social isolation and loneliness on our health is widely recognised in previous research. This study compares loneliness in deprived neighbourhood with that in the general population. It further examines whether social isolation and loneliness are associated with health-risk behaviours (including low intake of fruit or vegetables, daily smoking, high-risk alcohol intake, and physical inactivity and their co-occurrence) in deprived neighbourhoods, and whether social isolation and loneliness modify the associations between socioeconomic status and health-risk behaviours. Cross-sectional data from 5113 residents of 12 deprived neighbourhoods in Denmark were analysed using multiple logistic regression. Data on 14,686 individuals from the nationally representative Danish Health and Morbidity Survey 2010 were used as a comparison group with regard to loneliness. Cohabitation status, frequency of meeting with family and friends, participation in voluntary work were used as an indicator to measure social isolation. A question on feeling often unwillingly alone was used as an indicator to measure loneliness. Compared with the general population, residents of deprived neighbourhoods had higher odds of loneliness. Both social isolation and loneliness were significantly associated with higher odds of health-risk behaviour. When social isolation and loneliness were combined with low socioeconomic status, strong associations with health-risk behaviours were found. Social isolation and loneliness did not significantly modify the associations between socioeconomic status and health-risk behaviour. The findings in this study have important implications for the future planning of health promotion intervention programmes aimed to reduce health-risk behaviour in deprived neighbourhoods.
Project description:Gene expression profiling was carried out on peripheral blood leukocytes from 14 healthy older adults. The primary research question is whether gene expression differs in individuals experiencing chronically high levels of social isolation (by UCLA Loneliness Scale) vs chronically low levels of social isolation. Keywords: Risk prediction Overall design: Gene expression profiling was carried out on peripheral blood leukocytes from 14 healthy older adults. The primary research question is whether gene expression differs in individuals experiencing chronically high levels of social isolation (by UCLA Loneliness Scale) vs chronically low levels of social isolation.
Project description:Gene expression profiling was carried out on peripheral blood leukocytes from 14 healthy older adults. The primary research question is whether gene expression differs in individuals experiencing chronically high levels of social isolation (by UCLA Loneliness Scale) vs chronically low levels of social isolation. Experiment Overall Design: Gene expression profiling was carried out on peripheral blood leukocytes from 14 healthy older adults. The primary research question is whether gene expression differs in individuals experiencing chronically high levels of social isolation (by UCLA Loneliness Scale) vs chronically low levels of social isolation.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:This study aimed to explore time-varying associations between social engagement, living status and loneliness and neuro-immune markers in older adults, and ascertain whether results are explained by socioeconomic position, health behaviours or depression. METHODS:We analysed blood samples from 8780 adults aged 50 and above from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing across three waves of data collection: 2004/5, 2008/9 and 2012/2013. We used fixed effects modelling to estimate the relationship between loneliness, social isolation, living alone and levels of fibrinogen, insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), white blood cell (WBC) count and C-reactive protein (CRP), whilst accounting for all time-invariant and identified time-varying confounders. RESULTS:Higher levels of social engagement and living with somebody were associated with lower levels of CRP, fibrinogen and WBC, while lower levels of loneliness were associated with higher levels of IGF-1. These associations were found to be independent of time-invariant factors such as gender, medical history, previous patterns of social behaviours, unobserved aspects of social class, and genetics, and time-varying factors such as income, physical health, health behaviours, and depression. CONCLUSIONS:Aspects of social engagement were associated with lower levels of inflammation whilst loneliness was inversely related to the regulation of inflammation. This suggests there could be different biological pathways involved in objective and subjective aspects of social connections.
Project description:Both social isolation and loneliness are associated with increased mortality, but it is uncertain whether their effects are independent or whether loneliness represents the emotional pathway through which social isolation impairs health. We therefore assessed the extent to which the association between social isolation and mortality is mediated by loneliness. We assessed social isolation in terms of contact with family and friends and participation in civic organizations in 6,500 men and women aged 52 and older who took part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing in 2004-2005. A standard questionnaire measure of loneliness was administered also. We monitored all-cause mortality up to March 2012 (mean follow-up 7.25 y) and analyzed results using Cox proportional hazards regression. We found that mortality was higher among more socially isolated and more lonely participants. However, after adjusting statistically for demographic factors and baseline health, social isolation remained significantly associated with mortality (hazard ratio 1.26, 95% confidence interval, 1.08-1.48 for the top quintile of isolation), but loneliness did not (hazard ratio 0.92, 95% confidence interval, 0.78-1.09). The association of social isolation with mortality was unchanged when loneliness was included in the model. Both social isolation and loneliness were associated with increased mortality. However, the effect of loneliness was not independent of demographic characteristics or health problems and did not contribute to the risk associated with social isolation. Although both isolation and loneliness impair quality of life and well-being, efforts to reduce isolation are likely to be more relevant to mortality.
Project description:Background:The prospective associations between social isolation, loneliness, and health behaviors are uncertain, despite the potential importance of these relationships over time for outcomes including mortality. Purpose:To examine the associations between baseline social isolation, baseline loneliness, and engagement in health behaviors over 10 years among older adults. Methods:Data were from 3,392 men and women aged ?52 years in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing from 2004/2005 to 2014/2015. Modified Poisson regression was specified to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals for the associations between baseline social isolation, baseline loneliness, and consistent weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, consistent five daily fruit and vegetable servings, daily alcohol drinking at any time point, smoking at any time point, and a consistently overweight/obese body mass index over the follow-up (all yes vs. no). Models were population weighted and adjusted for sociodemographic factors, health indicators, and depressive symptoms, with mutual adjustment for social isolation and loneliness. Results:Socially isolated participants were less likely than non-isolated participants to consistently report weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (RR = 0.86; 0.77-0.97) or five daily fruit and vegetable servings (RR = 0.81; 0.63-1.04). They were less likely to be consistently overweight or obese (RR = 0.86; 0.77-0.97) and more likely to smoke at any time point (RR = 1.46; 1.17-1.82). Loneliness was not associated with health behaviors or body mass index in adjusted models. Among smokers, loneliness was negatively associated with successful smoking cessation over the follow-up (RR = 0.31; 0.11-0.90). Conclusions:Social isolation was associated with a range of health-related behaviors, and loneliness was associated with smoking cessation over a 10 year follow-up in older English adults.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Loneliness and social isolation are growing public health concerns in our ageing society. Whilst these experiences occur across the life span, 50% of individuals aged over 60 are at risk of social isolation and one-third will experience some degree of loneliness later in life. The aim of this scoping review was to describe the range of interventions to reduce loneliness and social isolation among older adults that have been evaluated; in terms of intervention conceptualisation, categorisation, and components. METHODS:Three electronic databases (CINAHL, Embase and Medline) were systematically searched for relevant published reviews of interventions for loneliness and social isolation. Inclusion criteria were: review of any type, published in English, a target population of older people and reported data on the categorisation of loneliness and/or social isolation interventions. Data extracted included: categories of interventions and the reasoning underpinning this categorisation. The methodology framework proposed by Arskey and O'Malley and further developed by Levac, et al. was used to guide the scoping review process. RESULTS:A total of 33 reviews met the inclusion criteria, evaluating a range of interventions targeted at older people residing in the community or institutionalised settings. Authors of reviews included in this paper often used the same terms to categorise different intervention components and many did not provide a clear definition of these terms. There were inconsistent meanings attributed to intervention characteristics. Overall, interventions were commonly categorised on the basis of: 1) group or one-to-one delivery mode, 2) the goal of the intervention, and 3) the intervention type. Several authors replicated the categorisation system used in previous reviews. CONCLUSION:Many interventions have been developed to combat loneliness and social isolation among older people. The individuality of the experience of loneliness and isolation may cause difficulty in the delivery of standardised interventions. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing loneliness or social isolation, and hence the need to tailor interventions to suit the needs of individuals, specific groups or the degree of loneliness experienced. Therefore, future research should be aimed at discerning what intervention works for whom, in what particular context and how.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:We examined whether social isolation due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders was associated with greater loneliness and depression for older adults, and, if so, whether declines in social engagement or relationship strength moderated that relationship. METHOD:Between April 21-May 21, 2020, 93 older adults in the United States who had completed measures characterizing their personal social networks, subjective loneliness, and depression six to nine months prior to the pandemic completed the same measures via phone interview, as well as questions about the impact of the pandemic on their social relationships. RESULTS:Older adults reported higher depression and greater loneliness following the onset of the pandemic. Loneliness positively predicted depression. Perceived relationship strength, but not social engagement, moderated this relationship such that loneliness only predicted depression for individuals who became closer to their networks during the pandemic. For those who felt less close, depression was higher irrespective of loneliness. DISCUSSION:The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted older adults' mental health and social well-being in the short-term. Potential long-term impacts are considered.
Project description:Objective: Older adults are at higher risk of experiencing social isolation, which has been linked to impaired physical and mental health. The link between social isolation and health might be due to objective deprivation of social network and/or subjective experience of loneliness. This community-based cross-sectional study examined whether the associations between social isolation and behavioral symptoms including sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue are mostly explained by its subjective component. Methods: Randomly selected 2541 community-dwelling individuals in Los Angeles aged ?60 years were telephone-interviewed regarding their objective and subjective social isolation (respectively social network size and loneliness), sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue. Results: When objective and subjective social isolation were separately included in multivariate regression models, both were significantly associated with behavioral symptoms. However, once they were simultaneously included in the same multivariate models, while subjective social isolation remained strongly associated (adjusted beta 0.24 for sleep disturbance [P?<?0.001], 0.44 for depression [P?<?0.001], 0.17 for fatigue [P?<?0.001]), objective social isolation was weakly or non-significantly associated (-0.04 for sleep disturbance [P?=?0.03], -0.01 for depression [P?=?0.48], -0.003 for fatigue [P?=?0.89]). Additionally, those with objective social isolation were found to have worse symptoms mostly when they also experienced subjective social isolation. Conclusions: Older adults with objective social isolation may experience sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue because they feel socially isolated, not just because they are deprived of social networks. Interventions that target social isolation might serve as potential treatments for improving behavioral health of older adults, especially by targeting its subjective component.