Purpose. Social isolation is a well-known predictor of morbidity and mortality in older individuals. Speech-language pathologists are in a unique position to observe personal and activity-limiting factors that place older individuals at risk for social isolation. The purpose of the current study is to extend what is known about communicative participation in an elderly population and to explore the relationship between communicative participation personal factors using the ICF (WHO, 2001) as a conceptual framework.
Method. This study utilized a causal-comparative design to quantitatively analyze social network size in a population of older individuals (n = 337). Stepwise backward regression was employed to determine which variables were included in an equation for predicting social network size in a sample of elderly individuals. Factors that predict quality of communicative life were also explored. Qualitative questioning and quantitative analysis explored the relationship between communicative quality of life (QoL) and communicative participation.
Results. Results indicate that cognition, years of education, living setting and communicative QoL combine to predict communicative participation as measured by the Social Networks Inventory. A high percentage of respondents (86.3%) reported that they were satisfied with their current social network. From a qualitative perspective, participants reported that changes in number of communicative partners, frequency and method of communication with those partners, as well as changes in the characteristics of those partners contributed to social network change. Personal and environmental contextual factors related to communicative participation were examined.
Conclusions. Speech pathologists play a valuable role in identifying individuals at risk for restricted communicative participation. Cognition and communicative QoL predict reduced participation as measured by the Social Networks Inventory. The SLP's responsibility to provide education and services for those at risk for communication disorders is discussed and directions for future research are provided.
|Advisor:||McCullough, Kimberly C.|
|Commitee:||Akpanudo, Usenime M., Logan, Robert, McCullough, Gary H., Zraick, Richard I.|
|School:||University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences|
|Department:||Communication Sciences and Disorders|
|School Location:||United States -- Arkansas|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Communicative participation, Elderly population|
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