Association of loneliness, social isolation, and daily cognitive function in Mexican older adults living in community during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic

Dafne Estefania Durón-Reyes, Alberto José Mimenza-Alvarado, Lidia Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez, María José Suing-Ortega, Yakeel T. Quiroz, Sara Gloria Aguilar-Navarro



Introduction. Loneliness and social isolation are known risk factors for cognitive decline; their effect in older adults (OA) after COVID-19 lockdown is emerging.

Objective. To establish an association between loneliness and social isolation, with daily cognitive function in Mexican OA during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method. Cross-sectional study, derived from the cohort “The impact of COVID 19 on well-being, cognition, and discrimination among older adults in the United States and Latin America”, which included 308 OA recruited between March-August 2020 whose daily cognitive function were determined with the Everyday Cognition Scale (E-Cog) as dichotomized score (cut point: 1.31 for normal cognition). Loneliness and social isolation were binomial variables.

Results. The mean age was 65.4 ± 7.9 years, 75.7% were women. The mean continuous E-Cog score was 57.4 (SD = ± 19.1), 49.1% had a score < 1.31 (normal cognition), while 50.9% had a higher score (cognitive impairment). Eighty four percent of participants reported loneliness, 79.9% reported social isolation. Multivariate regression model showed a negative and statistically significant association between social isolation and loneliness and E-Cog, adjusted by age, sex and education level (β = -.046, 95% CI = [-.8, -.013], p = .007; β = -.16, 95% CI = [-.08, -.018], p = .003), and a positive association with subjective memory complaint (β = .81, 95% CI = [-.16, -.11], p = < .001).

Discussion and conclusion. These data suggest the need for increased vigilance of those who have loneliness and social isolation due to its potential deleterious effect on cognitive function.


Loneliness; social-isolation; cognition; aged; COVID-19

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