Purpose: Studies suggest that frequent contact with friends and relatives promote mental wellbeing in later life, but most evidence comes from Western populations. We investigated the prospective relationship between frequency of contact with friends and relatives and quality of life (QoL) among older Central and Eastern European (CEE) adults and whether depressive symptoms mediated the hypothesised longitudinal relationship. Methods: Data from 6106 participants from the Health, Alcohol and Psychosocial factors In Eastern Europe (HAPIEE) study were used. Frequency of contact with friends and relatives was measured at baseline. QoL, at baseline and follow-up, was measured by the Control, Autonomy, Self-realisation, and Pleasure (CASP) 12-item scale. After assessing the prospective association using multivariable linear regression, the mediational hypothesis was tested using path analysis. Results: There was a significant prospective association between frequency of contact with friends and relatives and CASP-12 score (0–36) in fully adjusted models. Per every one unit increase in frequency of contact, there was a 0.12 (95% CI 0.06, 0.17) increase in CASP-12 score at follow-up, accounting for sociodemographic, health-related and baseline QoL. Pathway results showed that 81% of the longitudinal effect of frequency of contact on QoL was mediated through depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Frequent contact with friends and relatives improves QoL of older Central and Eastern European adults, partly through buffering against depressive symptoms. Interventions to improve QoL at older ages should incorporate effective management of common mental disorders such as depression.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Ageing, Central and Eastern Europe, Depression, Older ages, Quality of life, Social networks
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00127-020-01834-8, hdl.handle.net/1765/126801
Series MINDMAP
Journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology: the international journal for research in social and genetic epidemiology and mental health services
Citation
Luna, E. (Eliazar), Ruiz, M, Malyutina, S, Titarenko, A. (Anastasiya), Kozela, M. (Magdalena), Pajak, A, … Bobak, M. (2020). The prospective association between frequency of contact with friends and relatives and quality of life in older adults from Central and Eastern Europe. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology: the international journal for research in social and genetic epidemiology and mental health services. doi:10.1007/s00127-020-01834-8