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Patterns of social participation among older adults with disabilities and the relationship with well-being: a latent class analysis

Publication of Innovations in Care
J.N.T. Sattoe, | Article | Publication date: 06 August 2019
Aim Living with a chronic condition or a disability at older age impacts social participation. Social connections and social activities seem interrelated leading to heterogeneous patterns in social participation. The aim of this study was to identify a typology in social participation among older adults with disabilities, and to relate this typology to their background characteristics and well-being measures. Methods A total of 1775 older adults with disabilities or chronic conditions aged 65–97 were sampled from a nationwide panel study in the Netherlands. Social participation was assessed by various measures related to social connections, social informal activities, voluntary work, effort to increase social participation, and online social participation. A latent class analysis was carried out to identify a typology of social participation. Differences between these classes were explored with multinomial regression analyses and pairwise comparisons. Results Four classes were found: social withdrawers (22.5%, n = 399), proximate social dwellers (14.5%, n = 257), moderately active social dwellers (37.2%, n = 660) and pro-active social dwellers (25.9%, n = 459). Background characteristics, such as living alone and severity of disability, differed significantly among classes. Regarding well-being measures, it appeared that pro-active social dwellers had the most positive scores. Social withdrawers were most prone to reduced life satisfaction and health related quality of life and increased loneliness and experienced participation restrictions. Conclusions A typology with four patterns based on a wide spectrum of social participation aspects in older adults with disabilities was identified. This typology may help to assess the risk for reduced well-being of older adults with disabilities.

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