Measurement of Social Isolation

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Hörsaal 12 (Juridicum)
RC55 Social Indicators (host committee)

Language: English

It has been richly documented in the literature that how much one is connected to and cared for by others – whether it is called social support, social integration, or social capital – is associated with better health status for both young and old. In comparison, it is relatively a recent development that examines the effect of social isolation on health or illness. 
There have been several mediatory mechanisms proposed to explain how social isolation may affect health, health behaviors, level of stress, or physiological responses (e.g., immune function and neuroendocrine and cardiovascular activity). However, no consistent measurement of social isolation has been employed in relevant studies.
In reality, various measures such as social disconnectedness, absence of contact with other people, lack of participation in social activities, loneliness, or perceived social isolation, were utilized in operationalizing social isolation. Thus it is unclear if the association between social isolation and health outcomes can differ depending on how isolation was measured. Therefore this session aims to:

  • seek plausible and generalizable measurement(s) of social isolation that can be applied internationally, 
  • identify how such measurement(s) can be related to health/illness outcomes or mortality (including suicide), 
  • and suggest concrete alternatives to prevent the onset of social isolation from vulnerable subpopulations.
Session Organizer:
Joonmo SON, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Joonmo SON, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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