Positive and Negative Experiences of Social Support and Risk of Dementia in Later Life

Khondoker, M. et al. (2017). Positive and negative experiences of social support and risk of dementia in later life: an investigation using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2017; 58(1):99-108.

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Background: Having a network of close relationships may reduce the risk of developing dementia. However, social exchange theory suggests that social interaction entails both rewards and costs. The effects of quality of close social relationships in later life on the risk of developing dementia are not well understood.

Objective: To investigate the effects of positive and negative experiences of social support within key relationships (spouse or partner, children, other immediate family, and friends) on the risk of developing dementia in later life.

Conclusion: Positive social support from children is associated with reduced risk of developing dementia whereas experiences of negative social support from children and other immediate family increase the risk. Further research is needed to better understand the causal mechanisms that drive these associations.

Read the full article here

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