PhD defence Irene Fierloos
So far, public health research paid relatively little attention to the association of factors related to social and community networks with health outcomes. There is a need to gain a better understanding of associations between ‘social factors’ and health and wellbeing in all stages of life.
This dissertation focused on two social factors: perceived social support and loneliness. Perceived social support was examined among parents of children aged 0-8 years, living in the Netherlands. Loneliness was examined among older adults aged 70+ years, living in five European countries. Emotional and social loneliness were distinguished.
The studies presented in this dissertation provide empirical support for multiple ways in which perceived social support and loneliness are related to health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Strengthening perceived social support and reducing loneliness may be potentially promising directions to improve public health and to foster the resilience of health care systems.
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