The effectiveness and suitability of interventions for social isolation and loneliness for older people from minoritised ethnic groups living in the UK -PhD thesis-

Publication type

Thesis/Degree/Other Honours


Publication date

June 1, 2021


This study aimed to assess the effectiveness and suitability of social isolation and loneliness interventions for older people from minoritised ethnic groups living in the UK. It employed an iterative mixed-methods approach, conducted in four phases. Using data from Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study, Phase 1 explored ethnic variations in the friendship networks of older people using logistic regression analyses. Compared to older white people, older minoritised people’s friendship networks were found to be restricted in size and accessibility. These findings were explored further in Phase 2 using in-depth interviews with older people from minoritised ethnic groups. Community groups were identified as important for protecting against social isolation and loneliness. A mixed-methods systematic review was subsequently conducted to assess whether community-based group interventions reduced social isolation and loneliness in older people, and to uncover their underlying mechanisms. The evidence of effectiveness based on the meta-analyses was unclear, and qualitative comparative analysis was used to understand (non)effective interventions. The most effective interventions were found to adopt cognitive approaches to reducing loneliness, recruit participants with shared characteristics and provide participants with opportunities to connect. In Phase 4, the interviews conducted in Phase 2 were analysed using dialogic/performance analysis to gain an understanding of what older minoritised people consider their needs to be. The findings were used to assess the extent to which the interventions identified as most effective in Phase 3 matched what older people from minoritised ethnic groups view as their needs. The findings suggest that for community-based group interventions for social isolation and loneliness to be suitable and acceptable for older people from minoritised ethnic groups, they would need to be tailored to the aspects of their identities that they value and provide opportunities to connect based on these aspects of identity and activities that they find meaningful.






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