Social engagement as a predictor of health services use in baby-boomers and older adults
McArthur, Jennifer Meghan
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Purpose: To examine the relationship between social engagement (SE) and health care use (HCU) in baby-boomers (age 45-64) and older adults (65+). Methods: Data from the Wellness Institute Services Evaluation Research III was used. SE was assessed using measures of formal, informal, and civic activities. HCU was assessed using administrative health care records (hospital use and length of stay, overall general and family physician use). Results: Higher formal SE indicated higher contact with physicians in general, higher hospital visits, and longer lengths of stay in hospital. Higher informal SE indicated shorter lengths of stay. Results were found while controlling for demographic variables, chronic conditions, and self-rated health. Older adults had higher HCU overall, compared to baby-boomers. Conclusion: While further research is necessary, this study has implications in determining the impact that certain types of SE can have on the health care system for different age groups.
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