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Social isolation undermines quality of life in older adults

  • Karla Moreno-Tamayo (a1), Betty Manrique-Espinoza (a2), Eliseo Ramírez-García (a1) and Sergio Sánchez-García (a1)



Several studies have documented associations between social isolation and poor physical health or well-being. However, little is known of the importance of social support among older adults on specific topics about their quality of life. The purpose of the present study was to determine the relationship between social isolation and quality of life among older adults.


A cross-sectional study.


Mexico City.


1,252 subjects aged ≥ 60 years living at home.


We used the Abbreviated Version of the Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS-6) to assess social isolation and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument-Older Adults Module (WHOQOL-Old) to assess quality of life. Socio-demographic and health factors were collected through face-to-face interviews. A series of linear regression analyses were used to investigate relationship between social isolation and quality of life. The statistical models were controlled for socio-demographic and health factors.


A total of 750 women (60%) and 502 men (40%) participated in the study. According to their LSNS-6 scores, 426 participants (34.0%) were classified into the highest group of isolation (range 0-10 points). Older adults with higher scores of social isolation exhibited lower quality of life. Regression analyses indicated that social isolation correlated with lower levels of global quality of life, autonomy, intimacy, and past, present, and future activities.


Coping with life from a socially isolated situation entails serious difficulties concerning quality of life. Interventions that foster environments where older adults can forge social bonds might improve their quality of life.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Karla Moreno-Tamayo, Unidad de Investigación Epidemiológica y en Servicios de Salud, Área Envejecimiento, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. Av. Cuauhtémoc 330, Col. Doctores, CP: 06720, Ciudad de México, México. Phone: +52 (55) 56276900, ext. 21846. Email:


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Social isolation undermines quality of life in older adults

  • Karla Moreno-Tamayo (a1), Betty Manrique-Espinoza (a2), Eliseo Ramírez-García (a1) and Sergio Sánchez-García (a1)


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