Social isolation predicts frequent attendance in primary care

Cruwys, T., Wakefield, J.R.H. ORCID: 0000-0001-9155-9683, Sani, F., Dingle, G.A. and Jetten, J., 2018. Social isolation predicts frequent attendance in primary care. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52 (10), pp. 817-829. ISSN 0883-6612

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Background. Frequent attenders in primary care have complex physical and mental healthcare needs as well as low satisfaction with their healthcare. Interventions targeting mental health or psychoeducation have not been effective in reducing attendance. Here, we test the proposition that both frequent attendance and poor health are partly explained by unmet social needs (i.e., limited social group support networks).

Methods. Study 1 (N=1752) was a large cross-sectional community sample of primary care attenders in Scotland. Study 2 (N = 79) was a longitudinal study of a group of young people undergoing a life transition (moving countries and commencing university) that increased their risk of frequent attendance. Study 3 (N=46) was a pre-post intervention study examining whether disadvantaged adults who joined a social group subsequently had reduced frequency of primary care attendance.

Results. All three studies found that low social group connectedness was associated with a higher frequency of primary care attendance. This was not attributable to poorer health among those who were socially isolated. In Study 3, joining a social group led to reduced primary care attendance to the extent that participants experienced a (subjective) increase in their social group connectedness.

Conclusions. Unmet social needs among frequent attenders warrant closer consideration. Interventions that target social group connectedness show promise for reducing overutilization of primary care services.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Social isolation and frequent attendance [running title]
Publication Title: Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Creators: Cruwys, T., Wakefield, J.R.H., Sani, F., Dingle, G.A. and Jetten, J.
Publisher: Springer US for the Society of Behavioral Medicine
Date: 13 September 2018
Volume: 52
Number: 10
ISSN: 0883-6612
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 22 Nov 2017 11:55
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2019 03:00

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