Social relationships and functional status among Japanese elderly adults living in a suburban area

K. Watanabe, E. Tanaka, T. Watanabe, E. Tomisaki, S. Ito, R. Okumura, T. Anme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: Social relationships may help in maintaining functional status among older adults. This study examined the types of social relationships that were related to functional status among Japanese community-dwelling older adults. Study design: This is a prospective cohort study. Methods: We used baseline data from 2008 and conducted follow-up surveys six years later. Participants included individuals older than 65 years who lived in a suburban community in Japan. The Index of Social Interaction measure was used to assess multiple elements of social relationships. Two functional status outcomes were set: (1) functional decline and (2) functional decline and mortality. A multiple logistic regression model was used to examine the association between social relationships and functional decline six years later. Results: After controlling for age, sex, family structure and disease status in 2008, poor social curiosity (odds ratio [OR] = 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02–1.69) and interaction (OR = 2.57, 95% CI: 1.20–5.51) were found to be associated with functional decline. Furthermore, social curiosity (OR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.14–1.69) and interaction (OR = 2.84, 95% CI: 1.44–5.59) were also associated with the composite outcome. Conclusions: Social curiosity and interacting with others were significantly associated with functional status. Promotion of social interaction may be essential for preventing future need for care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb


  • Ageing
  • Care prevention
  • Functioning
  • Older adults
  • Social relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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