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J Gerontol. 1994 Jan;49(1):S3-13.

Social networks, social support, and mortality among older people in Japan.

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  • 1Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology.


This study examined the effects of social networks and social support on the mortality of a national probability sample of 2,200 elderly Japanese persons during a three-year period. The direct and indirect effects of social relationships were assessed by using hazard rate models in conjunction with ordinary least squares regressions. Among the five measures of social relationships, social participation is shown to have a strong impact on mortality, and this effect remains statistically significant when other factors are considered. Social participation, social support, and feelings of loneliness are found to have indirect effects on the mortality of the Japanese elders through their linkages with chronic diseases, functional status, and self-rated health. On the other hand, marital status and social contacts are not shown to have statistically significant effects on the risk of dying, either directly or indirectly.

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