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Short and long-term determinants of social detachment in later life

Jivraj, S; Nazroo, J; Barnes, M; (2015) Short and long-term determinants of social detachment in later life. Ageing and Society 10.1017/S0144686X14001561. Green open access

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Abstract

The benefits of engagement with social activities on health and wellbeing are widely reported by gerontologists. Less is known, however, what drives withdrawal from and reengagement with social activities in later life. This is an important area of research that has direct implications for public policies that aim to ensure equitable outcomes among older adults. Much of the existing literature supports continuity theory which assumes people will not alter their level of social engagement as they age or after life changing events. This paper uses data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing over an eight-year period (2002-2010) to determine the effect of short-term changes in marital, employment and health status over an initial four-year period on the dynamics of social detachment over the following four years. We control for underlying socioeconomic disadvantages built up during the life course and find that these effects, including poor education, wealth and health, are the most important determinants of persistent detachment from social activities as well as movement into and out of social detachment. The effects are consistent in men and women. The effects of short-term changes in marital and employment status have little effect on social detachment. Recent deterioration in health, however, predicted movement into social detachment, which implies the relationship between health and social detachment is reciprocal.

Type: Article
Title: Short and long-term determinants of social detachment in later life
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X14001561
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X14001561
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015
Keywords: social detachment, social activity, continuity theory, cumulative advantage, socio-economic inequalities, English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1460406
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