Does Social Activity Engagement in Late Adulthood Have a Positive Effect on the Onset of Dementia.

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Description, Methodological Quality of the Evidence, & Findings

Article One: What aspects of social network are protective for dementia? Not the quantity but the quality of social interactions is protective up to 15 years later (Ameiva, Stoykova, Matharan, Helmer, Antonucci, & Dartigues, 2010).

This study was a longitudinal cohort study that aimed to better understand the positive influence of social networks on dementia. As this study looks into social networks this study is relevant for my practice question which also looks into the effects of social activities on dementia. This study used the data of the PAQUID study a large prospective study of cognitive aging conducted in France. This study included 2089 subjects and followed for a period of 15 years to examine the affects of different characteristics in a social network. This study increases the generalisability to the population as a large sample size increases the certainty about the estimated effects (Hoffman, Bennett & Del Mar, 2010). Although the people in the study are different to New Zealand, the age group is appropriate for my question. This study followed the participants for 15 years, this helps to support the credibility of the study (Hoffman, Bennett & Del Mar, 2010). To avoid social network decline as a result of cognitive deterioration the subjects diagnosed with dementia during the initial visit, first year and third year visits were excluded from the results. By excluding these individuals from the study this may have affected the results and bias towards the socially active individuals as the individually who were excluded may have had less frequent socialising.

The variables the study examined included the marital status, the number of people, the nature of the ties within the network, satisfaction of relationships, perception of being misunderstood and the ratio of give/receive in relationships throughout the life time. Although this study looks into the many factors of a social network the definition of the social network is vague. There is no information given on the amount of time, quality of the interactions between others and the primary occupations involved. According to the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement the balance between the person and their the occupations with the social, cultural, physical and institutional environments are important (Townsend & Polatajko, 2007). Therefore the information concerning the quality, quantity and occupations of the social networks are important factors to considering when testing social interaction and the benefits to health.

An interview was done to check the cognition function of these participates and afterwards a qualified neurologist met with the participates to confirmed or rejected the diagnosis. The results of the study showed that comparing the satisfaction of relationships the group of participants who rated ‘very satisfied’ was significantly lower than the ‘not satisfied’ group (p=0.03) thus increasing the internal validity. Another significant finding included the ratio of give/receive in relationships where there was significantly lower risk of dementia with those that answered that they give more than they receive.

Article Two: Mental, physical and social components in leisure activities equally contribute to decrease dementia risk (Karp, Paillard-Borg, Wang, & Silverstein, 2006).

This article looked at the factors that could contribute to protect against dementia these included mental, social and physical involvement. The subjects for this study were derived from the Kungsholmen Project which was a longitudinal population-based study done in Stockholm Sweden. The study had 776 participants, however there were many dropouts, 172 participants dropped out from the study from the first follow up and 44 dropped out in the final sample. The 172 refused participation with no information concerning the possible reasons. The 44 participants were...
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