Social networks and loneliness in people with dementia of the Alzheimer

Balouch, Sara, Rifaat, Enas, Chen, Henglien Lisa and Tabet, Naji (2019) Social networks and loneliness in people with dementia of the Alzheimer. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. ISSN 0885-6230

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Modifiable lifestyle risk factors are of great interest in the prevention and management of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Loneliness and social networks may influence onset of AD, but little is known about this relationship in people with AD. The current study aimed to explore the relationship between loneliness and social networks (social measures) and cognitive and psychopathology decline (AD outcomes) in people with AD.

Ninety‐three participants with mild‐moderate AD were recruited from memory clinics, in a cross‐sectional study. Social networks (measured by the Lubben Social Network Scale), feelings of loneliness (measured by De Jong Loneliness Scale), cognition (measured by the Standardized Mini Mental State Examination) and psychopathology (measured by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory) were assessed in an interview setting. Two multiple regressions with Bootstrap were conducted on cognition and psychopathology as outcome variables. Family and Friends subsets of social networks and loneliness were entered as predictors and age, gender and depression as covariates.

The friendship subset of social networks was significantly related to cognition (independent of age, gender, depression, loneliness and family subset of social network): B = .284, p = .01. Neither loneliness nor social networks predicted psychopathology (ps > .05).

Maintaining or developing a close friendship network could be beneficial for cognition in people with AD. Alternatively, greater dementia severity may lead to fewer friends. More research on the direction of this relationship in people with AD is needed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: L Education
Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2019 12:08
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2019 16:48

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