Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 March 2015
Previous studies have found that social cohesion and trust (SCT) were associated with psychological well-being and physical health. In this study, we investigated the associations between SCT and mental and physical health among community-dwelling elderly in a town in southern Taiwan.
The study population consisted of 149 community-dwelling elderly aged 65 years and older (68 men, 81 women; mean age, 75.4 ± 6.1 years) residing in the town of Dashe in southern Taiwan. Activities of daily living (ADL), SCT, depression, subjective quality of life (QOL), current medical status, past medical history, and health behaviors were assessed in face-to-face interviews. Objective neurobehavioral functions were assessed using the timed up & go (TUG) test, functional reach test, and handgrip test.
Scores for ADL and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) were significantly correlated with SCT, and SCT was significantly correlated with all subjective QOL items. In addition, a strong correlation was observed between SCT and relationship with friends. Values for SCT (median ≥ 20) were significantly associated with both subjective sense of health (median ≥ 68) and subjective happiness (median ≥ 73) after adjusting for age, sex, and ADL.
SCT is an important variable that influences self-rated health and happiness, independently of ADL, age, and sex. When assessing geriatric psychological function, SCT should be examined more carefully, given its association with subjective sense of health and happiness, depression, and physical function.