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Does social isolation affect medical doctor visits? New evidence among european older adults

Abstract: We aimed to determine whether social isolation is associated with higher health-care utilization among European older adults. We have used panel data (2004-2015) from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) to examine the impact of social isolation on general practitioner health-care use. More precisely, we have considered negative binomial panel count data models to study the main driving factors. Socio-demographic, health, and social isolation measures are analyzed. Differences by Welfare Regimes have been also considered. Using two definitions of social isolation (Alone and Help), we have found that a sizeable proportion of those aged 50 years and older in Europe reported social isolation. Our results showed that while nonpartnership was significantly and positively correlated with health-care utilization (B = 0.03), providing help was significantly and negatively related with physician visits considering the full sample of European countries (B = -0.09). Differences by Welfare Regimes are highlighted. Also, Mediterranean countries consume more health-care services than other European ones. Targeting interventions for social isolated elders may significantly decrease general practitioner consultations and so health-care costs. Our findings provide several implications in current debates on the sustainability of welfare states.

 Authorship: Cantarero-Prieto D., Pascual-Sáez M., Blázquez-Fernández C.,

 Fuente: Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2021, 16, 787-804

 Publisher: Springer Netherlands

 Publication date: 01/12/2021

 No. of pages: 18

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1007/s11482-019-09795-0

 ISSN: 1871-2584,1871-2576

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