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J Telemed Telecare. 2017 Dec;23(10):817-827. doi: 10.1177/1357633X17733773. Epub 2017 Sep 29.

The effectiveness of e-Interventions on reducing social isolation in older persons: A systematic review of systematic reviews.

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1 University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
2 School of Nursing and Public Health, 72753 University of KwaZulu-Natal , South Africa.
3 School of Clinical Medicine, 72753 University of KwaZulu-Natal , South Africa.


As the older adult population group has been increasing in size, there has been evidence of growing social isolation and loneliness in their lives. The increased use of information communication technology and Internet-supported interventions has stimulated an interest in the benefits of e-Interventions for older people and specifically in having a role in increasing social networks and decreasing loneliness. A systematic review of e-Interventions to reduce loneliness in older people was conducted with the aim to synthesize high quality evidence on the effectiveness of e-Interventions to decrease social isolation/loneliness for older people living in community/residential care. A systematic search of 12 databases for reviews published between 2000-2017 was conducted using search term synonyms for older people, social isolation and interventions. Three independent researchers screened articles and two reviewers extracted data. The Revised-Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews was used to assess the quality of reviews. The final search identified 12 reviews, which included 22 unique primary research studies evaluating e-Interventions for social isolation or loneliness. The reviews were of moderate quality and the primary studies showed a lack of rigor. Loneliness was most frequently measured using the University California Los Angeles Loneliness Scale. Despite the limitations of the reviewed studies, there is inconsistent and weak evidence on using e-Interventions for loneliness in older people.


E-Intervention; loneliness; older people; social isolation; systematic review

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