Social engagement in older residents of assisted living facilities

Yuri Jang, Nan Sook Park, Delilah Dylan Dominguez, Victor Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: As a core component of successful aging, social engagement is widely known to play an important role in promoting the health and well-being of older populations. Given the unique nature of assisted living facility (ALF) settings, the present study made a distinction between social engagement within and outside the facility and explored how these two types of social engagement would interact with functional disability in predicting depressive symptoms of older residents in ALFs. We hypothesized that the positive impact of social engagement within the facility would be greater among residents with higher levels of functional disability.Method: Using data from 150 ALF residents in Florida (Mage = 82.8, SD = 9.41), the direct and moderating effects of functional disability and the two types of social engagement on depressive symptoms were assessed.Results: Supporting the hypothesis, the interaction between functional disability and social engagement within the facility was found to be significant. The finding demonstrates the particular importance of social engagement within the facility for those with reduced physical function. For them, the limited but available opportunities for social activities and interpersonal contacts within the facility seem to bring substantial psychological benefits.Conclusion: The findings call attention to efforts to promote social activities and interpersonal contacts within ALFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-647
Number of pages6
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported, in part, by the University of South Florida Internal Awards Program [grant number RO 26497] (PI − Yuri Jang, PhD).

Keywords

  • assisted living facilities
  • depressive symptoms
  • functional disability
  • social engagement

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