Rate of Social Isolation by Geographic Location Among Older Adults: AAA LongROAD Study

Laura Lynch, Thelma J. Mielenz, Guohua Li, David W. Eby, Lisa J. Molnar, Marian E. Betz, Carolyn DiGuiseppi, Linda L. Hill, Vanya Jones, David Strogatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Social isolation is a modifiable risk factor for negative health outcomes among older adults. This work assessed the relationship between geography (i.e., urban vs. non-urban residence) and social isolation in a cohort of older drivers. Methods: The AAA LongROAD cohort with 2,989 older adult drivers from across the country were included. Social isolation was measured at baseline and at two subsequent annual follow-ups using PROMIS v2.0 Social Isolation 4a. The effect of geographic location with social isolation was assessed through with multivariable regression using a generalized estimating equation model. Results: The rate of social isolation in urban areas was 21% lower (adjusted RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.46, 1.36) compared to non-urban areas after adjusting for covariates, though not significant. Discussion: Social isolation is a predictor of poor health outcomes and geographic considerations have been lacking in the literature. The panel data in this analysis provides more evidence for causality though the under-representation of non-urban areas potentially reduces the power for the results. Conclusions: It is important to understand the needs and risk of social isolation in various geographic settings to ensure resources and interventions are appropriately modified for a greater public health impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number791683
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - Dec 10 2021


  • driving
  • geography
  • modifiable risk
  • older adults
  • social isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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