Physical multimorbidity and social participation in adults aged ≥65 years from six low- and middle-income countries

Ruimin Ma, Eugenia Romano, Davy Vancampfort, Joseph Firth, Brendon Stubbs, Ai Koyanagi

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Multimorbidity is common among older adults from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Social participation has a role in protecting against negative health consequences, yet its association with multimorbidity is unclear, particularly in LMICs. Thus, this study investigated the relationship between physical multimorbidity and social participation among older adults across six LMICs.

METHODS: Cross-sectional, community-based data including adults aged ≥65 years from six LMICs were analyzed from the WHO Study on Global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) survey. The association between 11 individual chronic conditions or the number of chronic conditions (independent variable) and social participation (range 0-10 with higher scores indicating greater social participation) (dependent variable) was assessed by multivariable linear regression analysis.

RESULTS: 14,585 individuals [mean age 72.6 (SD 11.5) years; 54.9% females] were included. Among individual conditions, hearing problems, visual impairment, and stroke were significantly associated with lower levels of social participation. Overall, an increasing number of chronic conditions was dose-dependently associated with lower levels of social participation [e.g., ≥4 vs. 0 conditions ß=-0.26 (95%CI=-0.39, -0.13)]. The association was more pronounced among males than females.

DISCUSSION: Older people with multimorbidity had lower levels of social participation in LMICs. Future longitudinal studies are warranted to further investigate temporal associations, and whether addressing social participation can lead to better health outcomes among older people with multimorbidity in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
Early online date31 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021

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