Psychological Factors Affecting Social Isolation

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Social Isolation Social isolation may be defined as the absence of social interaction, contacts, and relationships with family and friends, with neighbors on an individual level, and with society at large on a broader level. Social isolation is considered a risk factor in the development of disease and the disabilities that can occur in the course of an existing disease. Social support may be defined as the resources provided by other persons including emotional social, physical, financial, and other types of care (Institute of Medicine, 1992). Social isolation may be measured by the strength of an older person's existing social network. The absence or weakness of the social support network forms the basis for identifying individuals who are socially isolated. According to Krishnamoorthi (2011) social isolation of the chronically ill and elderly is a costly problem. When the unmanaged chronic illness of the socially isolated becomes acutely worsened, mortality rates are higher and serious functional and mental debilitation requires total care from the system. Data indicates there is an increased risk that social isolation silently has for acute and chronic disease. Researchers have found that the absence of social relationships or those of low quality are independent predictors of all-cause mortality, even when controlling for baseline health status. Animal studies have found that social isolation lead to stressful biochemistry, through elevation of the
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