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Title: Loneliness, social integration, and incident dementia over 6 years: Prospective findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Authors: Rafnsson, Snorri Bjorn
Orrell, Martin
d'Orsi, Eleonora
Hogervorst, Eef
Steptoe, Andrew
Keywords: Dementia
Loneliness
Longitudinal
Social isolation
Social relationships
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: © The author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society
Citation: RAFNSSON, S.B. ...et al., 2017. Loneliness, social integration, and incident dementia over 6 years: Prospective findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, In Press.
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 iagnosing 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.
Description: This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Oxford University Press under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Sponsor: This work was supported by The Promoting Independence in Dementia (PRIDE) study funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and National Institute for Health Research (Grant ES/L001802/1). The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing is funded by the National Institute on Aging (Grant RO1AG7644) and by a consortium of UK government departments coordinated by the ESRC.
Version: Published
DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbx087
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/26527
Publisher Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbx087
ISSN: 1079-5014
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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