The role of perceived and objective social connectedness on risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior in late-life and their moderating effect on cognitive deficits
Cui, R. Gujral, S.,, Galfalvy, H., & Szanto, K.
Impaired cognition increases suicide risk while social connectedness protects against suicide risk in late life. We examined the independent and interactive effects of social connectedness and cognition on suicide risk in late life.
Participants included 570 individuals aged 50+ from a late-life suicide study. The Interpersonal Support Evaluation List and Social Network Index were used to assess perceived and objective social connectedness, respectively, while the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale and Executive Interview were used to assess cognition.
Suicide attempters and ideators reported lower perceived social connectedness and exhibited worse executive function than non-suicidal depressed and healthy comparison participants, while only attempters had worse objective social connectedness relative to the other groups. Executive dysfunction was linked to low objective social connectedness in attempters but higher objective social connectedness in healthy comparisons.
Interventions targeting suicide risk may consider bolstering social connectedness, particularly in those with low cognitive health.