Health effects of social isolation are well-studied at older age, in English-speaking countries, for individual health conditions, and based on unidimensional measures of isolation. Hardly any evidence exists for younger ages, for continental European and particularly German-speaking countries and based on multidimensional measures of isolation. This study therefore aimed to examine prevalence rates and associations of social isolation with various health conditions and behaviors in the entire Swiss population and across different age groups.
Good health is central to handling stress and living a longer, more active life. In this article, we explain the meaning of good health, the types of health a person needs to consider, and how to preserve good health.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
A person who has good physical health is likely to have bodily functions and processes working at their peak.
This is not only due not only to an absence of disease. Regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate rest all contribute to good health. People receive medical treatment to maintain the balance, when necessary.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, mental health refers to a person’s emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Mental health is as important as physical health as part of a full, active lifestyle.
It is harder to define mental health than physical health because many psychological diagnoses depend on an individual’s perception of their experience. With improvements in testing, however, doctors are now able to identify some physical signs of some types of mental illness in CT scans and genetic tests.
The Satisfaction with Life Scale
The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), created by Ed Diener, has been the most popular and widely used measure of life satisfaction since its inception in the 1980s. It consists of five statements that respondents rate on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). This assessment doesn’t specify explicit domains in which respondents should rate their satisfaction, such as work or health; instead, it asks more general questions to produce a subjective evaluation of life as a whole (Diener & Pavot, 1993).
This subjectivity is important in the measurement of life satisfaction because, as we noted earlier, people can and do differ widely based on variables such as country, religion, and values; though we call the same world “home,” we have such a variety of perspectives and ways of life that it would be impossible to break life satisfaction down into specific realms (Diener, Inglehart & Tay, 2013).
Life Satisfaction in Old Age
Speaking of measuring life satisfaction, let’s take a look at what we know about differences in satisfaction with life.
In general, life satisfaction remains relatively high in old age; at least, it’s not all that different from life satisfaction in young people. Although the normal complaints of aging (e.g., aches and pains, sleeping problems) can take away from one’s enjoyment of life, the factors associated with these complaints often lose importance to older adults.
Average life satisfaction may not change much with age, but the contributing factors and how much weight is placed on them certainly does. Older adults do not place as much value on things like status and money as younger people, but they tend to place more value on family relationships and long-term fulfillment from one’s life.
All statistical analyses were based on weighted and extrapolated data in order to better represent the total population, to better estimate prevalence rates and to provide more statistical power by relating the projected number of cases to the whole population. Descriptive statistics were calculated to characterize the study sample as a whole and were differentiated by subgroups (sexes, age groups) and to estimate the proportion of socially integrated and isolated persons in the Swiss resident population aged 15 and older. In order to answer the research questions and to test the general validity, sensitivity and stability or consistency of the main finding with regard to the studied association between social isolation and health, further statistical analyses were performed for various health conditions and behaviors, using differently specified models and related to different population strata.
Traditional health care models are focused on evaluating health problems and do not capture the full spectrum of health resources that, when assessed, can provide insight into children’s lived experience with chronic illness. The current study suggests that having a chronic illness is certainly a health challenge (evidenced by lower parent-reported general health) but does not preclude these children from having happy and satisfying lives that are comparable with those of peers without illness. Such findings support the positive-health approach and provide a basis for additional research with nationally representative samples and for specific chronic illnesses. Overall, this work highlights clinical opportunities to broaden the perspective of health beyond the absence of disease to one in which all children, regardless of illness or impairment, can have well-being.