The impact of structural and functional characteristics of social relations as determinants of functional decline.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Kirsten Avlund, Rikke Lund, Bjørn E Holstein, Pernille Due, Ritva Sakari-Rantala, Riitta-Liisa Heikkinen

OBJECTIVES: This study examines whether aspects of social relations at baseline are related to functional decline at 5-year follow-up among nondisabled old men and women. METHODS: The investigation is based on baseline and follow-up data on 651 nondisabled 75-year-old persons in Jyväskylä (Finland) and Glostrup (Denmark). The analyses are performed separately for men and women. Possible selection problems were considered by using three outcome measures: first, functional decline among the survivors (n = 425); second, functional decline, including death, assuming that death is part of a general decline pattern (n = 565); and third, mortality (n = 651). Social relations were measured at baseline by several items focusing on the structure and function of the social network. RESULTS: In men, no weekly telephone contact was related to functional decline and mortality. Among women, less than weekly telephone contact, no membership in a retirement club, and not sewing for others were significantly related to functional decline and mortality. The associations were stronger when the dead were included in the outcome measure. DISCUSSION: The results point to the importance of social relations in the prevention of functional decline in older adults.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournals of Gerontology. Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences
Volume59
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)S44-51
ISSN1079-5014
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Activities of Daily Living; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Depression; Disabled Persons; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Interpersonal Relations; Male; Social Behavior

ID: 6109421