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Impact of Social Network on the Risk and Consequences of Injurious Falls in Older Adults
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
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Number of Authors: 72019 (English)In: Journal of The American Geriatrics Society, ISSN 0002-8614, E-ISSN 1532-5415, Vol. 67, no 9, p. 1851-1858Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVES A smaller social network is associated with worse health-related outcomes in older people. We examined the impact of social connections and social support on the risk of injurious fall and on fall-related functional decline and mortality. DESIGN Prospective study with 6-year follow-up. SETTING Community. PARTICIPANTS A total of 2630 participants (aged >= 60 years) from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen. MEASUREMENTS Social connections (social network size and contact frequency) and social support (social resource perception and satisfaction) were assessed through validated questionnaires. Data on injurious falls (falls requiring inpatient or outpatient care) and mortality came from official registers. We defined injurious falls as severe if they caused fracture and/or intracranial injury and as multiple if two or more occurred during the 6-year follow-up. Functional decline was defined as the loss of ability to perform one or more activities of daily living during the follow-up. RESULTS During the follow-up, 322 participants experienced injurious falls. After adjusting for potential confounders, the hazard ratio of injurious falls was 1.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1-2.4) for people with poor social connections and 1.5 (95% CI = 1.1-2.1) for people with moderate social connections (reference: rich social connections). Social support was not associated with fall risk. The odds of functional decline among those with severe/multiple falls and (1) poor social connections (odds ratio [OR] = 5.2 [95% CI = 2.1-12.9]) or (2) poor social support (OR = 4.5 [95% CI = 1.7-12.0]) was up to twice as high as among those with severe/multiple falls and (3) rich social connections (OR = 2.5 [95% CI = .9-6.6]) or (4) rich social support (OR = 2.7 [95% CI = 1.2-6.3]). Similar but more attenuated results emerged for mortality. CONCLUSIONS Social network may influence fall risk and fall-related functional decline and mortality. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:1851-1858, 2019

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 67, no 9, p. 1851-1858
Keywords [en]
social connections, social support, falls, disability, mortality
National Category
Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health Sciences Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-174956DOI: 10.1111/jgs.16018ISI: 000485001900014PubMedID: 31241183OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-174956DiVA, id: diva2:1365565
Available from: 2019-10-25 Created: 2019-10-25 Last updated: 2019-10-25Bibliographically approved

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Wang, Hui-Xin
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Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI)Stress Research Institute
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Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health SciencesSociology

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