Depression, disability and social engagement

Dr Noriko Cable presents new findings on depression and disability and the role of social engagement.

SWAN’s PI Dr Noriko Cable discusses her research looking at the Profiles of depressive symptoms and the associating patterns with social engagement and IADL among older people in Japan at the Society for Lifecourse and Longitudinal Studies Conference 2021.

The research uses data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study to look at different profiles of depression and their links to individuals’ functional disabilities.

The research shows that certain social prescription measures may only work with particular depressive profiles whilst others may require a medical approach.

  • You can watch her talk here.

Hope for cross-national comparative work on loneliness and healthy ageing with Japan

by Noriko Cable

Japan is known to be a country with great longevity. However the country faces numerous social challenges from growing social care costs and social disconnection.

The study, Validation study on a Japanese version of the three-item UCLA Loneliness Scale among community-dwelling older Adults translated the 3 item UCLA loneliness scale into Japanese and assessed the validity of the measurement within the Japanese context by implementing the measurement to independent living older adults.

Findings are promising with high reliability indicated by high inter-item correlation and assured convergent validity indicated by moderate correlation with depression and poor social support.

This translated loneliness item is now used in the nationwide survey, Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study which has been used for cross-national comparative studies with England, for example, the England Longitudinal Survey for Ageing.

By adding the loneliness items, we can further explore complex relationships between social relationships (social networks, social support, social participation, and loneliness) and healthy ageing through cross-national comparative studies, thereby better understanding what aspects of social relationships need to be enhanced to promote healthy ageing.

UK-Japan SWAN Japan symposium

Symposium attracts excellent audience

UK-Japan Social Wellbeing across Ageing Nations (SWAN) project held a methods symposium at the University of Tokyo, in Japan 19 November 2019. Project PI Noriko Cable outlines the event.

The room was filled with early career and experienced researchers alike. We were also joined by practitioners, an author of social isolation book and a founder of the Japan social relationship association. 

The talk started with culture and social relationships, followed by an introduction to data resources available to conduct cross-national comparative work.

I introduced the Gateway to Global Ageing, the harmonised data platform which contains two sets of data being used in the SWAN project. I also shared a range of variables that are related to social relationships and well-being from the household panel studies JSTAR, ELSA, JSHINE and UKHLS that are household panel study. 

Noriko Cable

Professor Tarani Chandola, another member of the SWAN project, gave a keynote lecture, discussing measurement invariance, a key concept in comparative work. Students were provided with research examples and statistical approaches to help them assess measurement invariance. The questions came fast and furious and there was much scribbling of notes!

Tarani Chandola

When we broke into small groups there was much discussion sousing mainly on themes of possible research questions, and what else could be asked in the context of social relationship and ageing. We also discussed  any other potential datasets and the lifecourse of family, social support, networks and isolation in relation to ageing related health and social care use. 

Attendees found the session informative and inspiring

Many of the attendees said they found the symposium informative and inspiring, and especially appreciated the opportunity to engage in intensive discussion with other researchers from different disciplines.

We ended the UK-Japan SWAN symposium in a very Japanese way – many bowings, an indication of their appreciation and the greeting word, ‘korekaramo yoroshiku onegaishimasu’,  which implies a long term collaborative relationship. 

All in all a real success!