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The Effects of Multidimensional Social Isolation on Physical and Mental Health: Analysis of Interaction Effects of Age Groups

Lee, Sang Chul 1 Cho, Joonyoung 2

1동서울대학교
2Washington University in St. Louis

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Along with the well-established evidence on the negative effect of social isolation on physical and mental health, increasing attention has been paid to multi-dimensional nature of social isolation. One line of study on social isolation has discussed different pathways between objective and subjective social isolation and health. Another stream of the research focused on the possibly non-linear association between social isolation and health by age cohort groups. Drawing from the two lines of research, this study aimed at empirically examine to what extent objective and subjective social isolation are associated with physical and mental health independently and how the associations vary by three age cohorts(i.e. the middleaged, the young old, the old-old). Data came from the first wave of Korean Social Life, Health and Aging Project (KSHAP) (N= 814). Findings showed 1) objective subjective isolation were significantly related with worse physical and mental health, interestingly, subjective social isolation was associated with mental health only, 2) pattern of association between social isolation and physical health varied by age cohorts. Specifically, compared to the middle-aged, the young old with higher objective social isolation exhibited lower level of physical health, while the old-old with higher subjective social isolation were likely to experience lower physical health. Based on the findings, we discussed implications and suggestions for future research and relevant policy/program development for ameliorating objective and subjective social isolation

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.