Article

American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 721-732

Extreme Social Isolation, Use of Community-Based Senior Support Services, and Mortality Among African American Elderly Women

  • Thomas A. LaVeistAffiliated withSchool of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
  • , Robert M. SellersAffiliated withUniversity of Virginia
  • , Karin A. Elliott BrownAffiliated withSchool of Public Policy and Social Research, University of California–Los Angeles
  • , Kim J. NickersonAffiliated withSchool of Public Policy and Social Research, University of California–Los Angeles

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Abstract

The effect of extreme social isolation and use of community-based senior services on longevity was examined in a national sample of African American elderly women (ages 55–96). Consistent with previous research on the social integration/mortality link, African American elderly women who were extremely socially isolated were hypothesized to have a higher 5-year mortality rate. It was also hypothesized that use of community senior services would be negatively associated with 5-year mortality. Results of logistic regression analysis controlling for age, education, income, and health status found that extremely socially isolated African American elderly women were three times more likely than the nonisolated women to die within the 5-year period from the initial survey. Use of community senior services did not have a relationship on mortality. Results are discussed in terms of directions for future research and intervention.

mortality longevity social support African American elderly