Quality of Life Research

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1395–1407 | Cite as

Systematic review of interventions addressing social isolation and depression in aged care clients

  • Linél Franck
  • Natalie Molyneux
  • Lynne ParkinsonEmail author



A systematic review was undertaken of studies reporting interventions for reducing social isolation and depression in older people receiving aged care services (community or residential).


Gray literature and relevant electronic databases were systematically searched for studies published in English between January 2009 and December 2013. Two reviewers independently screened studies for selection using predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria and independently completed methodological quality review at study level. Studies of poor methodological quality were excluded. Data were extracted at study level by one reviewer and independently checked by a second reviewer, using a standardized form. The results across studies were qualitatively synthesized with outcomes described and summarized at last follow-up.


Although the original objective was to review rural studies, no intervention studies based in rural areas met criteria for inclusion in the review, and only urban studies could be reviewed. Of 403 articles, six articles representing five studies with moderate-to-low risk of bias were included for review. All study participants were older adults ranging in age from 77 to 86 years. All studies had small sample sizes, ranging from 26 to 113 participants. Three of the five included intervention studies successfully reduced social isolation; one also successfully reduced depression.


Only one intervention, group-based reminiscence therapy, was reported as successful in reducing both social isolation and depression in older people within an urban aged care setting. More research is needed to explore transferability of interventions across different aged care settings and into rural areas.


Systematic review Intervention Social isolation Depression Aged care 



PresCare organization provided funding for the overall project. This review was conducted as part of Linel Franck’s Honours Psychology project at Central Queensland University.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Queensland UniversityNorth RockhamptonAustralia

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