MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Social isolation, social support, and loneliness and their relationship with cognitive health and dementia

    Joyce, Johanna and Ryan, Joanne and Owen, Alice and Hu, Jessie and McHugh Power, Joanna and Shah, Raj and Woods, Robyn and Storey, Elsdon and Britt, Carlene and Freak‐Poli, Rosanne (2022) Social isolation, social support, and loneliness and their relationship with cognitive health and dementia. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 37 (1). ISSN 0885-6230

    [img] Download (326kB)

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Background: Poor social health is prevalent in older adults and may be associated with worse cognition, and increased dementia risk. The aim of this study was to determine whether social isolation, social support and loneliness are independently associated with cognitive function and incident dementia over 5 years in older adults, and to investigate potential gender differences. Methods: Participants were 11,498 community‐dwelling relatively healthy Australians aged 70–94,in the ASPREE Longitudinal Study of Older Persons(ALSOP).Social isolation, social support, loneliness and cognitive function were assessed through self‐report. Outcomes examined were cognitive decline(>1.5SD decline in cognitive performances in cebase line)and incident dementia(adjudicated according to DSM‐IV criteria).Results: Most participants self‐reported good social health(92%)with very few socially isolated(2%),with low social support(2%) or lonely(5%).Among women, social isolation and low social support were consistently associated with lower cognitive function(e.g., social support and cognitionβ =−1.17,p<0.001). No consistent longitudinal associations were observed between baseline social health and cognitive decline (over median 3.1 years) or incident dementia (over median 4.4years;social isolation: HR=1.00,p=0.99;low social support: HR=1.79,p=0.11;loneliness:HR=0.72,p=0.34 among women and men). Conclusion: Our study provides evidence that social isolation and a low social support are associated with worse cognitive function in women, but not men. Social health did not predict incident cognitive decline or dementia, but we lacked power to stratify dementia analyses by gender.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: age factors; aged; aged 80 and over; ageing; cognition; cognitive health; dementia; geriatrics; interpersonal relations; loneliness; older adult; social connection; social interaction; social isolation; social support;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 18274
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Joanna McHugh Power
    Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2024 14:00
    Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
    Publisher: Wiley On-line
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads