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Social Integration and Terminal Decline in Life Satisfaction Among Older Japanese


Nakagawa, Takeshi; Hülür, Gizem (2019). Social Integration and Terminal Decline in Life Satisfaction Among Older Japanese. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences:ePub ahead of print.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Well-being typically exhibits pronounced deteriorations with approaching death, with sizeable interindividual variations in levels and changes. It is less well understood how psychosocial factors contribute to these individual differences. We examined whether and how social integration is associated with terminal trajectories of well-being, indexed as life satisfaction.

METHOD: Data were drawn from 1,119 deceased Japanese participants of a 15-year longitudinal study (age at death: M = 79.2 years; SD = 7.7 years; 43.1% women). Life satisfaction, structural and functional features of social integration (e.g., frequency of contact with family and nonfamily, and perceived overall support, respectively), socio-demographic characteristics, and physical function were assessed.

RESULTS: Social integration predicted individual differences in terminal decline in life satisfaction, after controlling for age at death, gender, education, and physical function: More diverse social relationships were associated with higher levels of life satisfaction at 1 year before death. Additionally, individuals who exhibited more decline in social participation and perceived less support showed more pronounced decline with increasing proximity of death.

DISCUSSION: This study suggests that social integration plays a protective role in late-life well-being, and that sustaining an active social life and supportive social interactions may help mitigate terminal decline in well-being.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Well-being typically exhibits pronounced deteriorations with approaching death, with sizeable interindividual variations in levels and changes. It is less well understood how psychosocial factors contribute to these individual differences. We examined whether and how social integration is associated with terminal trajectories of well-being, indexed as life satisfaction.

METHOD: Data were drawn from 1,119 deceased Japanese participants of a 15-year longitudinal study (age at death: M = 79.2 years; SD = 7.7 years; 43.1% women). Life satisfaction, structural and functional features of social integration (e.g., frequency of contact with family and nonfamily, and perceived overall support, respectively), socio-demographic characteristics, and physical function were assessed.

RESULTS: Social integration predicted individual differences in terminal decline in life satisfaction, after controlling for age at death, gender, education, and physical function: More diverse social relationships were associated with higher levels of life satisfaction at 1 year before death. Additionally, individuals who exhibited more decline in social participation and perceived less support showed more pronounced decline with increasing proximity of death.

DISCUSSION: This study suggests that social integration plays a protective role in late-life well-being, and that sustaining an active social life and supportive social interactions may help mitigate terminal decline in well-being.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:10 May 2019
Deposited On:26 Jun 2019 14:40
Last Modified:26 Jun 2019 14:42
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1079-5014
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz059
PubMed ID:31074829
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100019_175962
  • : Project TitleSocial Cognition in Normal Cognitive Aging: A Micro-Longitudinal Dyadic Perspective
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID10DL1C_183146
  • : Project TitleDigitalisation and the Social Lives of Older Adults

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