Social Participation and Mental Health among Older Adults

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Psychology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 4085

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Centre for Psychological Research and Social Intervention (CIS-Iscte), University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE), 1649-026 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: healthy and active aging; health equity; digital inclusion; digital literacy; frailty; cultural and autobiographical narratives; evidence-based interventions; community-based participatory research
1. Center for Health Technology and Services Research (CINTESIS), Porto, Portugal
2. Porto Nursing School (ESEP), Porto, Portugal
3. Portugal Centre for Evidence Based Practice: A JBI Centre of Excellence, Nursing School of Coimbra, 3004-011 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: older adults; cognitive impairment; nursing; psychotherapeutic interventions; mental health; citizen science; public and patient involvement
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Guest Editor
Faculty of Health Studies, VID Specialized University, P.O.Box 184 Vinderen, N-0319 Oslo, Norway
Interests: care of older people; dementia care; person-centred care; non-medical interventions; municipal health service

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 42, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Interests: care of older persons; intersections of migration and care; inequalities in old age; qualitative comparative research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite longevity being a long-term goal, population aging is discussed mainly with a focus on the challenges. The needs of support and care of older persons are often presented as burdens to family members and welfare states. Additionally, dementia and memory illnesses are significant threats to everybody, and loneliness in old age is becoming increasingly common as older persons are often left marginalised in society. 
 
To avoid marginalising oler people, social participation is vital. It can be informal, meaning that older persons have the opportunity and resources to socialize with other people, families, friends, peers, or meet occasional acquaintances in a nearby café or park. Social participation can also be formal, such as being active in politics, non-governmental organisations, churches, or societies. Both types of social participation have the potential to increase positive feelings in the person, such as belonging, meaning of life and happiness. Positive feelings again promote psychological wellbeing and mental health in general. 
 
This Special Issue focuses on interconnections between different types of social participation and their connections with mental health. With this Special Issue, we intend to   

  • Pay special attention to positive aspects, possibilities and consequences, of social interaction and mental health in old age; 
  • Provide new insights into factors that facilitate or hinder the social participation of older adults and broaden the knowledge about the associations between these factors and mental health; 
  • Go beyond traditional perspectives on the role of community in supporting older persons and reflect on new solutions that, on the one hand, identify these persons as active agents and mobilize them to participate and, on the other hand, encourage the creation of living conditions and environments that support healthy and active living and aging in place, involving families and communities;   
  • Map promotional and interventional approaches that encourage social participation to enhance quality of life and well-being in advanced age and learn about their feasibility, appropriateness, meaningfulness and effectiveness from the perspective of providers, users or users’ relatives;   
  • Propose to analyze the opportunities and challenges associated with aging in the community, taking as a starting point the social, cultural and economic societal contexts ini which older persons live.   

We welcome primary and secondary research, empirical (qualitative, quantitative and mixed method) and theorical contributions, from different knowledge domains.

Dr. Elzbieta Bobrowicz-Campos
Dr. Rosa Silva
Dr. Nina Jøranson
Dr. Minna Zechner
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • active and healthy living
  • aging in place
  • community
  • family
  • life transitions
  • informal social participation
  • formal social participation
  • engagement
  • mental health
  • positive mental health
  • mental health disorders
  • mental health literacy
  • promotion/intervention-focused approaches
  • digital health
  • inclusion
  • technology-supported participation
  • volunteerism
  • friendship

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
Older Adults Affected by Abuse–What about Their Mental Health and Social Participation? A Mixed Methods Study
by Mari Salminen-Tuomaala, Juha Tiainen and Eija Paavilainen
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14030188 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 821
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to describe what types of abuse of older adults the healthcare providers in hospital emergency departments are currently able to identify. The study aimed at producing new information about the identification of abuse to enable the development [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to describe what types of abuse of older adults the healthcare providers in hospital emergency departments are currently able to identify. The study aimed at producing new information about the identification of abuse to enable the development of staff skills in the identification of abuse and in optimal interventions. The study is the first on the topic from the perspective of hospital emergency staff in Finland. The 76 participants represent 5 hospitals. The results are based on a statistical analysis of quantitative questions and on an inductive content analysis of participant experiences of suspected abuse. The inductive content analysis revealed that older adults subjected to abuse have narrowed social networks and many of them surrender to loneliness. Based on the relevant literature, the study discusses how the formal and informal social participation and mental health of this group of people could be promoted. Given the current limited resources, it is proposed that the idea of social prescribing might be applied informally, with help of a volunteer link person. Any interventions should be based on the older adults’ conceptions of what is meaningful to them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Participation and Mental Health among Older Adults)
15 pages, 321 KiB  
Article
The Gender of Retirement in a Double-Ageing Country: Perspectives and Experiences of Retired Women and Men in Portugal
by Maria Carolina Pereira, Miriam Rosa and Maria Helena Santos
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 774; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13090774 - 16 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1256
Abstract
This article aimed to explore the perspectives and experiences of women and men at the stage in their lives following professional retirement, enriching the present and future of a continuously ageing Portuguese society. In order to better capture the diversity and complexity of [...] Read more.
This article aimed to explore the perspectives and experiences of women and men at the stage in their lives following professional retirement, enriching the present and future of a continuously ageing Portuguese society. In order to better capture the diversity and complexity of each individual’s experiences, a qualitative methodology was used. Semi-structured individual interviews were carried out with sixteen retired people, eight women and eight men, aged between 59 and 88 years old. A thematic analysis allowed us to identify five themes in the interviewees’ discourses. We concluded that gender may be a source of heterogeneity at this stage of life, suggesting that these findings should be analysed in the scope of a life course perspective, and highlighting the impact that the different trajectories of women and men have, as well as the historical and social context in which they take place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Participation and Mental Health among Older Adults)
14 pages, 1113 KiB  
Article
Can the Frailty of Older Adults in China Change? Evidence from a Random-Intercept Latent Transition Profile Analysis
by Guangming Li and Yuxi Pan
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13090723 - 30 Aug 2023
Viewed by 931
Abstract
Background: A major aspect of caring for older adults in the medical field is addressing their health risks. The term “frailty” is generally used to describe the changes in health risks of older adults. Although there is considerable heterogeneity in the Chinese older [...] Read more.
Background: A major aspect of caring for older adults in the medical field is addressing their health risks. The term “frailty” is generally used to describe the changes in health risks of older adults. Although there is considerable heterogeneity in the Chinese older adult population who are classified as frail, there remain few relevant studies. Furthermore, there is a lack of research on the frailty status transitions of older Chinese adults at different time points. This research intends to determine the frailty status and category of older adults according to their physical, psychological, social, and cognitive function domains, and on this basis, to investigate changes in their frailty states. Methods: This article studied 2791 respondents who were over 60 years old (n = 2791; 53.2% were women) from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) follow-up survey on factors affecting the health of older adults in China. In this article, the frailty variables include self-reported health, social function, mental health, cognitive function, functional limitations, and morbidity status. Random-intercept latent transition profile analysis (RI-LTPA) was used to divide older adults into different subgroups, and then an in-depth analysis of the state transitions was conducted. Results: The latent profile analysis revealed that the evaluation results of the frailty state of older adults showed obvious group heterogeneity. Each fitting index supported four latent states, which were named according to the degree of the symptoms (i.e., multi-frailty, severe socially frailty, mild socially frailty, and relatively healthy frailty). Based on the categorical probability and the probability of transition, it can be concluded that most of the samples belonged to the healthy population, and the health status had generally improved across the four time points. The relatively healthy frailty group and the severe socially frailty group have relatively strong stabilities. The multi-frailty group and the mild socially frailty group had the highest probability of joining to the relatively healthy frailty group. Strengthening social interactions among older adults and promoting their participation in social activities can significantly improve their frail state. Conclusions: This study supplements related research on frailty. Firstly, it deepens the meaning of frailty, which is defined based on four aspects: physical, psychological, cognitive, and social functioning. Secondly, it divides frailty into different sub-categories. Frailty is discussed from the perspective of longitudinal research, which can provide practical adjustment suggestions for older adult nursing intervention systems and measures in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Participation and Mental Health among Older Adults)
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