Physical Therapy Research
Online ISSN : 2189-8448
ISSN-L : 2189-8448
Scientific Research Article
Social Network Moderates the Association between Frequency of Social Participation and Physical Function among Community-dwelling Older Adults
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2022 Volume 25 Issue 3 Pages 120-126


Objective: Social participation is an essential component of active aging. Physical dysfunction is restriction of social participation, but it is inconclusive that improvement of physical function contributes to promote social participation. Therefore, understanding the other factor that moderates the association between physical dysfunction and social participation is important, and social network (i.e., ties with family and friends) may be a key factor. The aims of this study were to investigate the association between physical function and frequency of social participation, with social network as a moderator, and to examine the gender differences on the relationships. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 287 community-dwelling older adults. We asked how often they participated in social groups in a week to measure frequency of social participation. Physical function and social network were measured by using the modified version of Short Physical Performance Battery for community-dwelling older adults and the abbreviated Lubben Social Network Scale, respectively. To investigate the association, we performed a linear regression analysis. Results: After adjustment, a linear regression analysis showed interactions between physical function and social network on frequent social participation (β: −0.20, 95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.40 to −0.01). Furthermore, the same association was observed only in women (adjusted β: −0.33, 95% CI: −0.65 to −0.02). Conclusion: Our results suggested that social network moderates the association between physical function and social participation, and observed gender differences on the relationships. The findings of this study indicated the importance of multidimensional assessment and measures for improving social participation, not only physical function but also social network.

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© 2022 Japanese Society of Physical Therapy
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