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J Affect Disord. 2016 Nov 1;204:59-69. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.06.032. Epub 2016 Jun 14.

Social relationships, loneliness, and mental health among older men and women in Ireland: A prospective community-based study.

Author information

1
Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de Barcelona, Fundació Sant Joan de Déu, CIBERSAM, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: z.santini@pssjd.org.
2
Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, USA.
3
Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom; The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
4
Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de Barcelona, Fundació Sant Joan de Déu, CIBERSAM, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Data is lacking on the association of interpersonal stressors and social isolation with mental disorders and the mediating role of loneliness. Thus, we examined this association prospectively using community-based data.

METHODS:

Data on 6105 adults aged ≥50 years from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) was analyzed. Mental health outcomes were assessed 2 years after baseline. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were evaluated with validated scales. Multivariable linear regression and mediation analyses were conducted.

RESULTS:

Higher levels of spousal support, less strain from spouse and better social network integration were protective against depressive symptoms in men. Social support from friends and children was protective against depressive symptoms in both genders. Higher levels of social strain from children were positively associated with depressive symptoms in women. Loneliness was a significant mediator in the majority of these associations.

CONCLUSION:

Interventions aimed at increasing relationship quality and strengthening existing social network structures, with a specific focus on reducing feelings of loneliness, may be beneficial in the prevention of depressive symptoms among older adults.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Depression; Loneliness; Older adults; Social isolation; Social networks; Social support

PMID:
27337705
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2016.06.032
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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