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Social relations and depression in late life - A systematic review


Schwarzbach, Michaela; Luppa, Melanie; Forstmeier, Simon; König, Hans-Helmut; Riedel-Heller, Steffi G (2014). Social relations and depression in late life - A systematic review. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29(1):1-21.

Abstract

Objective
Social relations have become the focus of much research attention when studying depressive symptoms in older adults. Research indicates that social support and being embedded in a network may reduce the risk for depression. The aim of the review was to analyze the association of social relations and depression in older adults.
Methods
Electronic databases were searched systematically for potentially relevant articles published from January 2000 to December 2012. Thirty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria for this review.
Results
Factors of social relations were categorized into 12 domains. Factors regarding the qualitative aspects of social relations seem to be more consistent among studies and therefore provide more explicit results. Thus, social support, quality of relations, and presence of confidants were identified as factors of social relations significantly associated with depression. The quantitative aspects of social relations seem to be more inconsistent. Cultural differences become most obvious in terms of the quantitative aspects of social relations.
Conclusion
Despite the inconsistent results and the methodological limitations of the studies, this review identified a number of factors of social relations that are significantly associated with depression. The review indicates that it is needful to investigate social relations in all their complexity and not reduce them to one dimension. Simultaneously, it is important to conduct longitudinal studies because studies with cross-sectional design do not allow us to draw conclusions on causality. Beyond that, cultural differences need to be considered. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Abstract

Objective
Social relations have become the focus of much research attention when studying depressive symptoms in older adults. Research indicates that social support and being embedded in a network may reduce the risk for depression. The aim of the review was to analyze the association of social relations and depression in older adults.
Methods
Electronic databases were searched systematically for potentially relevant articles published from January 2000 to December 2012. Thirty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria for this review.
Results
Factors of social relations were categorized into 12 domains. Factors regarding the qualitative aspects of social relations seem to be more consistent among studies and therefore provide more explicit results. Thus, social support, quality of relations, and presence of confidants were identified as factors of social relations significantly associated with depression. The quantitative aspects of social relations seem to be more inconsistent. Cultural differences become most obvious in terms of the quantitative aspects of social relations.
Conclusion
Despite the inconsistent results and the methodological limitations of the studies, this review identified a number of factors of social relations that are significantly associated with depression. The review indicates that it is needful to investigate social relations in all their complexity and not reduce them to one dimension. Simultaneously, it is important to conduct longitudinal studies because studies with cross-sectional design do not allow us to draw conclusions on causality. Beyond that, cultural differences need to be considered. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:25 Jun 2014 08:56
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 06:10
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0885-6230
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.3971
PubMed ID:23720299

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