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A 10-Year Follow-Up Study of Social Ties and Functional Health among the Old: The AGES Project

National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, 7-430 Morioka, Obu 474-8511, Japan
Center for Preventive Medical Sciences, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan
Department of Social Welfare, Nihon Fukushi University, Okuda, Mihamacho, Chita-gun, Aichi 470-3295, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 717;
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 3 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
PDF [286 KB, uploaded 4 July 2017]


In Asian nations, family ties are considered important. However, it is not clear what happens among older people with no such ties. To investigate the association, we used longitudinal data from the Aichi Gerontological Evaluation Study (AGES) project. Functionally independent older people at baseline (N = 14,088) in 10 municipalities were followed from 2003 to 2013. Social ties were assessed by asking about their social support exchange with family, relatives, friends, or neighbors. Cox proportional hazard models were employed to investigate the association between social ties and the onset of functional disability adjusting for age, health status, and living arrangement. We found that social ties with co-residing family members, and those with friends or neighbors, independently protected functional health with hazard ratios of 0.81 and 0.85 among men. Among women, ties with friend or neighbors had a stronger effect on health compared to their male counterparts with a hazard ratio of 0.89. The fact that social ties with friends or neighbors are associated with a lower risk of functional decline, independent of family support, serves to underscore the importance of promoting social ties, especially among those lacking family ties. View Full-Text
Keywords: social ties; social support; functional health social ties; social support; functional health
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Murata, C.; Saito, T.; Tsuji, T.; Saito, M.; Kondo, K. A 10-Year Follow-Up Study of Social Ties and Functional Health among the Old: The AGES Project. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 717.

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