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Journal article

Network first

Author:
GEORGE Mike
Journal article citation:
Community Care, 7.4.94, 1994, p.8.
Publisher:
Reed Business Information

Research in Wales has been done to help understand older people's informal networks. Identifies the following types of informal networks: local family dependent, locally integrated support, local self-contained support, wider community focused support and private restricted support. Describes these types and reports on the ways practitioners can build on them.

Journal article

Community structure and support network variations

Authors:
WENGER G. Clare, ST LEGER Fred
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 12(2), 1992, pp.213-236.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

Presents data from two studies of support networks of elderly people and identifies five types of network which are correlated with service use.

Journal article

Between social networks and formal social services

Authors:
LITWIN Howard, AUSLANDER Gail K.
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 8(3), September 1988, pp.269-285.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

Reports a study of the social networks of recent applications to the social welfare bureaux of Jerusalem. Beyond review of the relevant study variables as reflected in the literature, and an overview of Israeli social services for the aged, addresses why the social networks of the elderly claimants turned to formal assistance.

Journal article Full text available online for free

Social relations and depression in late life: a systematic review

Authors:
SCHWARZBACH Michaela, et al
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29(1), 2014, pp.1-21.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

In this review electronic databases were searched systematically for potentially relevant articles published from January 2000 to December 2012 to analyze the association of social relations and depression in older adults. Thirty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. Factors of social relations were categorized into 12 domains. Factors regarding the qualitative aspects of social relations seem to be more consistent among studies and therefore provide more explicit results. Thus, social support, quality of relations, and presence of confidants were identified as factors of social relations significantly associated with depression. The quantitative aspects of social relations seem to be more inconsistent. Cultural differences become most obvious in terms of the quantitative aspects of social relations. Despite the inconsistent results and the methodological limitations of the studies, this review identified a number of factors of social relations that are significantly associated with depression. The review indicates that it is needful to investigate social relations in all their complexity and not reduce them to one dimension. It is also important to conduct longitudinal studies and to consider cultural differences. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Psychological distress as a key component of psychosocial functioning in community-dwelling older people

Authors:
SCHNITTGER Rebecca I. B., et al
Journal article citation:
Aging and Mental Health, 16(1-2), January 2012, pp.199-207.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

Psychological distress is a critical issue affecting the quality of life in older adults with implications for both mental and physical health. The aim of this study was to explore the key components of psychosocial functioning in older adults with a focus on identifying the constituents of psychological distress. Another aim was to examine the relationship between these components and health outcomes such as frailty. The study was conducted at the Technology Research for Independent Living Clinic, a comprehensive geriatric assessment facility in Dublin. As part of a structured clinical assessment, 579 participants completed 9 primary psychosocial measures as well as a broad range of health and demographic secondary assessments. Principal factor analysis identified 3 core dimensions of the construct of psychosocial functioning. The first is related to a core internal component of psychological distress. The 2 other components are related to external and physiological functioning, specifically social support networks and sleep. These components, particularly psychological distress, were found to be associated with health outcomes associated with frailty.

Journal article

Depression and social networks in community dwelling elders: a descriptive study

Author:
WILBY Frances
Journal article citation:
Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 54(3), April 2011, pp.246-259.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

Social isolation and inadequate social support have previously been identified as correlates of depression in older adults. This study aimed to describe the social networks of depressed older adults living in the community and to compare the social networks of depressed and nondepressed individuals. The study participants consisted of 91 respondents aged 65 and older who were randomly selected using the voter registry. About 27% (25) of the participants reported significant levels of depressive symptomology as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D). The participants completed semi-structured interviews that included questions about social contacts with family and others during the prior week. All the participants reported social contact with family and friends during this period. The findings showed that, in this sample, the depressed elders were not socially isolated. They were more likely to report contacts with friends than those who were not depressed, and equally likely to report involvement in volunteer activities. Their likelihood of seeking social support was also comparable. The results emphasise the importance of peer relationships and suggest that, in some groups of older adults, social isolation may not be a hallmark of depressive symptoms.

Journal article

Being physically active in old age: relationships with being active earlier in life, social status and agents of socialisation

Authors:
MARTINEZ Jesus, et al
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 30(7), October 2010, pp.1097-1113.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

This study investigates the social processes that influence older people's participation in physical activity. A questionnaire with items on personal, social and environmental characteristics was completed by a random sample of older adults in the Madrid Autonomous Region. Significant relationships were found between the type of physical activity participation and being physically active at earlier life stages. Other relationships were found including socio-economic status, the encouragement of others or social support in being active, and the knowledge and availability of local facilities. Some cases were observed of re-socialisation into physical activity among those who had been inactive earlier in life, and both appropriate environmental and supportive social conditions appeared instrumental. The authors concluded that the study could inform the design of future social programmes to promote active lifestyles in later life. However, given the complexity of the socialisation processes, it would be advisable for future studies to examine other than the four factors featured in this paper, such as the role of cultural differences.

Journal article

Personal and social resources and adaptation to chronic vision impairment over time

Authors:
REINHARDT Joann P., BOERNER Kathrin, HOROWITZ Amy
Journal article citation:
Aging and Mental Health, 13(3), May 2009, pp.367-375.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

This study aimed to examine the effect of personal (coping strategies and locus of control) and social resources (family and friendship support) on adjustment to chronic vision impairment in older adults at baseline (rehabilitation service application), 6 months, and 18 months later. Three hundred and thirteen community dwelling, English speaking older adult applicants to a vision rehabilitation agency in the northeast of America were interviewed in their homes following informed consent. A larger portion of variability was accounted for in positive compared to negative outcomes. Greater use of acceptance coping, less use of wishfulness coping, lower endorsement of chance locus of control, and higher family support were associated with better baseline adaptation, yet these predictors had little effect on short- or long-term change in adaptation. Higher friendship support predicted increased adaptation to vision loss at both follow-up points. Friendship support was also associated with decreased depression at Time 3, and lower use of wishfulness was related to decreased depression at Time 2. Results showed differential effects for positive versus negative outcome variables, short- versus long-term adaptation, personal and social resources, and within social resources, for family versus friendship support.

Journal article

Influence of social network characteristics on cognition and functional status with aging

Authors:
GREEN Ariel Frank, REBOK George, LYKETSOS Constantine G.
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23(9), September 2008, pp.972-978.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

To determine whether more frequent engagement in larger social networks, and more emotional support protect against cognitive and functional decline with aging, the influence of social networks on cognition and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) over a median interval of 10.9 years were examined. Data were from the Baltimore follow-up of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study, a community-based sample of adults in eastern Baltimore. Eight hundred and seventy-four participants completed cognitive testing at both the third and fourth study waves (1993-1996 and 2003-2004) on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and a delayed word recall task. Functional status at both waves was self-reported on the Lawton-Brody IADL scale. Social network characteristics, assessed at the third study wave, included network size, frequency of contact, and emotional support. In cross-sectional analyses at wave 3, larger networks were associated with higher MMSE and better delayed recall scores. This association persisted after adjustment for covariates. More emotional support was associated with better functional status, before and after adjustment. By contrast, social networks were not longitudinally associated with cognitive change, with two counter-intuitive exceptions: more frequent contact and more emotional support were associated with worse delayed recall and IADL scores after adjustment. There was no evidence of a longitudinal association between social networks and cognition or IADLs, although a clear cross-sectional association exists. Together, these findings suggest the emergence of social isolation in individuals declining in cognition and functioning, rather than a protective effect of social networks.

Journal article Full text available online for free

Social isolation in older people

Author:
SOCIAL CARE INSTITUTE FOR EXCELLENCE
Journal article citation:
Community Care, 13.12.07, 2007, pp.36-37.
Publisher:
Reed Business Information

Older people often identify social inclusion as important to their quality of life and independence. This article draws on SCIE's 'Dignity in Care' practice guide to highlight ways of encouraging social inclusion and preventing isolation.

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