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Dec. 15, 2020

Social circles protect against depression in elderly adults

Researchers in the Department of Communication examine the layers of social connection and impacts on functioning in older adults

A new study published in "Psychology and Aging" shows that robust social networks can protect against depression in older adults, with MSU researchers taking a look at the layers that exist in older adults’ social circles.

The study, “Multilayered Social Dynamics and Depression among Older Adults: A 10-year cross-lagged analysis,” was led by Reed Reynolds, and conducted in collaboration with Jingbo Meng and Elizabeth Dorrance Hall in MSU’s Department of Communication.

“We have known that social connection is incredibly important for people of advanced age, and also that older people often suffer from shrinking networks and difficulty building new relationships,” said Reynolds. “Our study helps show how involvement in the community — whether through clubs, charities, or churches — is one of the best ways for older people to build new relationships and grow their social network. In turn, this more robust network seems to protect against future depression.”

Read the full story on the Communication Arts and Sciences website.

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