The Effect of Cognitive Impairment on the Association between Social Network Properties and Mortality among Older Korean Adults

Eunji Kim, Kiho Sung, Chang Oh Kim, Yoosik Youm, Hyeon Chang Kim

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Objectives: This study investigated the effect of cognitive impairment on the association between social network properties and mortality among older Korean adults. Methods: This study used data from the Korean Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. It obtained 814 older adults’ complete network maps across an entire village in 2011-2012. Participants’ deaths until December 31, 2020 were confirmed by cause-of-death statistics. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess the risks of poor social network properties (low degree centrality, perceived loneliness, social non-participation, group-level segregation, and lack of support) on mortality according to cognitive impairment. Results: In total, 675 participants (5510.4 person-years) were analyzed, excluding those with missing data and those whose deaths could not be verified. Along with cognitive impairment, all social network properties except loneliness were independently associated with mortality. When stratified by cognitive function, some variables indicating poor social relations had higher risks among older adults with cognitive impairment, with adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of 2.12 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.34 to 3.35) for social non-participation, 1.58 (95% CI, 0.94 to 2.65) for group-level segregation, and 3.44 (95% CI, 1.55 to 7.60) for lack of support. On the contrary, these effects were not observed among those with normal cognition, with adjusted HRs of 0.73 (95% CI, 0.31 to 1.71), 0.96 (95% CI, 0.42 to 2.21), and 0.95 (95% CI, 0.23 to 3.96), respectively. Conclusions: The effect of social network properties was more critical among the elderly with cognitive impairment. Older adults with poor cognitive function are particularly encouraged to participate in social activities to reduce the risk of mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 The Korean Society for Preventive Medicine.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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