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Open AccessArticle

Correlates of Objective Social Isolation from Family and Friends among Older Adults

1
School of Public Health and School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2
The Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
3
School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
4
School of Social Work and Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Healthcare 2018, 6(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare6010024
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 3 March 2018
This study examined the correlates of objective social isolation from extended family members and friends among older adults. The analysis is based on the older adult sub-sample of the National Survey of American Life (n = 1321). Multinomial logistic regression analyses examined race/ethnicity, demographics, functional health and family and friend network factors as correlates of objective isolation from family and friends. Only 4.47% of respondents were objectively isolated from both their extended family and friends, 10.82% were isolated from their friends, and 7.43% were isolated from their family members. Men were more likely to be objectively isolated from both family and friends and older adults who live with others were significantly more likely to be objectively isolated from their friends. When controlling for subjective social isolation, the two measures of functional health were significantly associated with objective social isolation. In particular, higher levels of self-care impairment decreased the risk of being objectively isolated from friends only, whereas higher mobility impairment was associated with an increased likelihood of being objectively isolated from friends only. Subjective evaluations of social isolation from family and friends were consistently associated with being objectively isolated from family and friends. There were no significant differences between African-Americans, Black Caribbeans and non-Hispanic Whites in objective isolation. These and other findings are discussed in detail. View Full-Text
Keywords: African-American; Afro-Caribbean; social support; extended family; kinship; support network African-American; Afro-Caribbean; social support; extended family; kinship; support network
MDPI and ACS Style

Chatters, L.M.; Taylor, H.O.; Nicklett, E.J.; Taylor, R.J. Correlates of Objective Social Isolation from Family and Friends among Older Adults. Healthcare 2018, 6, 24.

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