, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 113-121

Socio-demographic associations with social disablement in a community sample

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The associations between social disablement and socio-demographic factors have been examined in a random sample of 310 adults drawn from the general population of Camberwell, South London. Neither paternal social class nor the subject's own social class are associated with social disablement in either men or women, except that men (but not women) of very low social class show significantly poorer social performance. Age and sex are not associated with social disablement, despite the fact that women in the general population have consistently been found to have higher rates of psychiatric disorder than men. For a given level of psychiatric disorder men show poorer social performance than women. Men who do not have children at home, or who live entirely alone have significantly poorer social performance, as do men who are widowed, separated or divorced, but these factors are not associated with poor social performance in women. By contrast, an unsatisfactory marital relationship is significantly associated with disablement in women, but not in men. The demographic factors associated with poor social performance are all indices of social disadvantage or social isolation.