Staying socially connected may improve your quality of life.
What is the relationship between social networks/connectedness and mental wellbeing?
What was done?
103 residents in a residential care facility were given a survey measuring their social capital, i.e. social networks, as well as several wellbeing surveys.
What was found?
Study participants with greater social network sizes, closer relationships, confidantes and social support were more likely to have higher mental wellbeing
How does this affect me?
Maintaining a social support system may help to improve your quality of life by improving your mental wellbeing.
Introduction: Global increases in life expectancy are expected to continue, with accompanying physical and mental well-being challenges specifically for older people living in residential care settings.
Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the association between mental well-being and social capital of older residents (60+ years) in an urban residential care facility in South Africa.
Method: A descriptive survey was conducted with 103 residents living in a residential care facility in an urban environment in South Africa. The social capital framework from the Canadian Policy Research Initiative, the WHO-5 well-being index, the Kessler-6 measure of psychosocial distress, the OSLO-3 Social Support Scale and the Australian Bureau of Statistics Indigenous Health Questionnaire were used to develop the questionnaire.
Results: The WHO-5 showed moderate ratings of mental well-being for the standard scoring (>13) (62, 82.7%), but lower levels when using ‘no negative ratings’ (36; 50.6%). Significant differences in the primary network size, average closeness, self-efficacy and social support as well as the ability to confide in primary network was shown between residents with mentally well and unwell ratings. Logistic regression showed that the strongest predictor for mental well-being was participation in activities outside of the residence and having a primary network.
Conclusion: The study confirms the association between social capital and mental well-being.