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Title: The impact of social distancing on an aging population during a pandemic: the relationship between social connection and mental health symptomatology
Authors: Orazietti, Jessica R.
Keywords: Loneliness;social isolation;aging;depression;anxiety;COVID-19
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2022
Abstract: In past research, social connection, as defined by its functional, qualitative, and structural aspects, has been shown to positively impact older adults' mental and physical health. Considering the tremendous public health issue SARS-CoV-2 (also called COVID-19) has become, examining these factors is needed during an active wave of the pandemic. In the current study, two social connection constructs—social isolation assessed with the Social Network Index and loneliness evaluated with the University of California, Los Angeles Loneliness Scale—were administered along with the Geriatric Depression Scale: Short Form and the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory. These surveys, along with a COVID-19 related survey and demographic questionnaire, were completed by 63 older adults. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to evaluate how well the connection measures predicted depression and anxiety scores. Loneliness significantly predicted both mental health variables in the regression analyses; however, social isolation did not, which indicated perceived connection might have more impact on mental health than the number of people in one’s network and frequency of contact. Thus, quality and perception of relationships could be a more efficacious area of focus in intervention plans than structural social connection (i.e., CBT model).
Appears in Collections:Psychology / Psychologie - Master's theses

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