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Loneliness, Social Integration, and Incident Dementia Over 6 Years: Prospective Findings From the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

Rafnsson, SB; Orrell, M; d'Orsi, E; Hogervorst, E; Steptoe, A; (2017) Loneliness, Social Integration, and Incident Dementia Over 6 Years: Prospective Findings From the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 10.1093/geronb/gbx087. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Social relationships are important for the maintenance of cognitive function at older ages, with both objective features of social networks and perceived social connections (loneliness) being relevant. There is limited evidence about how different aspects of social experience predict diagnosed dementia. METHODS: The sample comprised 6,677 dementia-free individuals at baseline (2004) from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Baseline information on loneliness, number of close relationships, marital status, and social isolation (contact with family and friends and participation in organizations) was analyzed in relation to incident dementia over an average 6.25 years using Cox regression, controlling for potential confounding factors. RESULTS: Two hundred twenty participants developed dementia during follow-up. In multivariable analyses, dementia risk was positively related to greater loneliness (hazard ratio 1.40, 95% confidence interval 1.09-1.80, p = .008), and inversely associated with number of close relationships (p < .001) and being married (p = .018). Sensitivity analyses testing for reverse causality and different criteria for diagnosing dementia confirmed the robustness of these findings. There was no association with social isolation. DISCUSSION: Dementia risk is associated with loneliness and having fewer close relationships in later life. The underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated, but efforts to enhance older peoples' relationship quality may be relevant to dementia risk.

Type: Article
Title: Loneliness, Social Integration, and Incident Dementia Over 6 Years: Prospective Findings From the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbx087
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbx087
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Dementia, Loneliness, Longitudinal, Social isolation, Social relationships
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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 Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health 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 > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1565272
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