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Social Isolation and Mental Illness in Old Age

Marjorie Fiske Lowenthal
American Sociological Review
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Feb., 1964), pp. 54-70
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094641
Page Count: 17
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Social Isolation and Mental Illness in Old Age
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Abstract

The relation between isolation and mental disorders in old age is analyzed to assess the prevalent assumption that age-linked isolation is an important correlate (if not cause) of mental illness in old age and to contribute to further understanding of social isolation in general. The sample consists of four subgroups drawn from the 1200 institutionalized and non-institutionalized elderly persons who constitute the subjects of a series of studies in geriatric mental illness. Social, physical, and psychological characteristics of the four groups are analyzed quantitatively; qualitative analysis of case materials is used to trace the development of isolation and its relation to subjective and objective indicators of maladjustment.

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