Social Connectedness for Health and Disease Management

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Original Editors - Ziya Altug

Top Contributors - Cindy John-Chu, Kim Jackson, Robin Leigh Tacchetti and Robin Tacchetti      


Introduction[edit | edit source]

Social Connectedness

The BMC Geriatrics journal defines social connectedness as "a positive subjective evaluation of the extent to which one has meaningful, close, and constructive relationships with other individuals, groups, or society indicated by: (1) feelings of caring about others and feeling cared about by others, such as love, companionship or affection and (2) feeling of belonging to a group or community." The authors go on to say that a lack of social connections may lead to loneliness and "reduced health and well-being, including poor life satisfaction, depression, low self-esteem, reduced hope, negative affect, and impaired function in activities of daily living."[1]

Social Connectedness for Health and Disease Management[edit | edit source]

Social connectedness and social interactions may be effective for the following:

Practical Application[edit | edit source]

An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that social prescribing could help patients with medical conditions that are influenced by social circumstances.[10]

The following are some suggested patient education strategies to improve social connectedness for a patient’s health and well-being:

  • Attend local sports events, music performances, or art and museum exhibits
  • Cooking Together
    Connect with family and friends locally or through Zoom
  • Create or join a lunchtime walking or tai chi club at work
  • Engage in conventional group exercises such as softball, volleyball, basketball, pickleball, or tennis
  • Engage in mind body exercises such as yoga, tai chi, or Pilates
  • Enroll in art-based community activities such pottery, music, art, poetry, writing, or drama classes
  • Go to a farmer’s market for grocery shopping
  • Join or create a community garden club
  • Join a gym or fitness centre
  • Join self-help groups
  • Join social media platforms such as Facebook or
  • Play with your pets
  • Gardening
    Take classes, such as cooking, dancing, or creative writing, at a local college or community college
  • Volunteer at a community centre or hospital
  • Volunteer to coach sports or mentor students
  • Walk in a mall club
  • Walk at a park or on a nature trail

Social Measures[edit | edit source]

Related Articles[edit | edit source]

Omodior O, Ramos WD. Social determinants of health-related quality of life: a recreation setting analysis. Health Promot Pract. 2020;21(6):952-961. doi:10.1177/1524839919827572

Resources[edit | edit source]

References [edit | edit source]

  1. O'Rourke HM, Collins L, Sidani S. Interventions to address social connectedness and loneliness for older adults: a scoping review. BMC Geriatr. 2018;18(1):214. doi:10.1186/s12877-018-0897-x
  2. Choi NG, Pepin R, Marti CN, Stevens CJ, Bruce ML. Improving social connectedness for homebound older adults: randomized controlled trial of tele-delivered behavioral activation versus tele-delivered friendly visits. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020;28(7):698-708. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2020.02.008
  3. Kealy D, Aafjes-van Doorn K, Ehrenthal JC, Weber R, Ogrodniczuk JS, Joyce AS. Improving social functioning and life satisfaction among patients with personality dysfunction: connectedness and engagement in integrative group treatment. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2020;27(3):288-299. doi:10.1002/cpp.2427
  4. Leavell MA, Leiferman JA, Gascon M, Braddick F, Gonzalez JC, Litt JS. Nature-based social prescribing in urban settings to improve social connectedness and mental well-being: a review. Curr Environ Health Rep. 2019;6(4):297-308. doi:10.1007/s40572-019-00251-7
  5. Chou L, Cicuttini FM, Urquhart DM, et al. People with low back pain perceive needs for non-biomedical services in workplace, financial, social and household domains: a systematic review. J Physiother. 2018;64(2):74-83. doi:10.1016/j.jphys.2018.02.011
  6. Buruck G, Tomaschek A, Wendsche J, Ochsmann E, Dörfel D. Psychosocial areas of worklife and chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019;20(1):480. doi:10.1186/s12891-019-2826-3
  7. Karayannis NV, Baumann I, Sturgeon JA, Melloh M, Mackey SC. The impact of social isolation on pain interference: a longitudinal study. Ann Behav Med. 2019;53(1):65-74. doi:10.1093/abm/kay017
  8. Willard VW, Russell KM, Long A, Phipps S. The impact of connectedness on social functioning in youth with brain tumors. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019;66(5):e27607. doi:10.1002/pbc.27607
  9. Steinman L, Parrish A, Mayotte C, et al. Increasing social connectedness for underserved older adults living with depression: a pre-post evaluation of PEARLS. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2021;29(8):828-842. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2020.10.005
  10. Roland M, Everington S, Marshall M. Social Prescribing - Transforming the relationship between physicians and their patients. N Engl J Med. 2020;383(2):97-99. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1917060