Session Type: Poster Session A
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: Loneliness and social isolation have detrimental effects on health and are associated with risk of an earlier death, depression and poor self-rated health. Few studies have investigated the prevalence of these social determinants among patients with rheumatic conditions and none have focused on minority communities. We therefore set about to determine the prevalence and pervasiveness of loneliness and social isolation among African American and Latinx communities.
Methods: This is an ongoing community based participatory research conducted by physicians from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in conjunction with members of the Rochester community. The study aims to survey a 1,000 patients and conduct 5 focus group meetings, from the African American and Latinx communities seen at the URMC Center and two community health centers. The Campaign to End Loneliness Measurement Tool, a short and academically rigorous took with a simple scoring method was used to assessed loneliness. Scores range from 0-12 with higher scores representing more pronounced loneliness. The Lubben social network scale -6 was used to calculate the presence and extent of social isolation; scores range between 0 and 30, with a lower score indicating less social engagement. The questionnaires also gathered information on age, gender, zip code, presence of chronic medical conditions, disease duration and the number of hospitalizations.
Results: To date, 367 surveys have been provided of which 154 surveys have been returned. Of these, 110 had complete data for analysis and comprised of 78 females and 32 males with a mean age of 50.2 years. A total of 40 respondents, comprised of 24 females with a mean age of 43.3 years reported no arthritis or chronic medical conditions. Another 48 patients, with 34 females and a mean age of 54.4 years, noted arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. There were an additional 22 patients who disclosed other chronic medical conditions (heart disease, diabetes and mental health). The mean loneliness score for patients with arthritis was 3.5 with 8 patients having total scores of 8 or higher and compared with a mean score of 2.6 (p=0.01) among those without chronic medical conditions with only 2 patients in this group noted to have a score of 8 or above. The mean Lubben score for the arthritis cohort was 14.4 compared with 18.30 (p=0.4) for those without chronic medical conditions. Most patients with chronic disease had >5 years disease duration. Hospitalization rates were surprisingly similar between the groups (see Table).
Two focus group meetings have been completed and included 28 subjects (21 females and 7 males). Preliminary quantitative analysis revealed an emphasis of family in relation to loneliness and the relevance of spirituality with regards to overcoming social isolation. The role of race and not fitting in to the “white society” was highlighted as a contributor to loneliness and social isolation.
Conclusion: Loneliness and social isolation are common and more pronounced in members of minority communities with rheumatic diseases. Efforts to measure these social determinants and develop methods to address them are important steps in implementing strategies to overcome healthcare disparities.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Anandarajah A, Shelton N, Yi L, Graham M, Papa E, Carter R. Loneliness and Social Isolation Are Important Social Determinants Among Patients from Minority Communities with Rheumatic Diseases [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020; 72 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/loneliness-and-social-isolation-are-important-social-determinants-among-patients-from-minority-communities-with-rheumatic-diseases/. Accessed January 22, 2022.
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