Humanism, Empathy, Social Justice, and Global Health Symposium

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    Loneliness Interventions in Older Adults: A Global Systematic Review of Reviews
    ( 2020) Patil, Uday ; Elliott, Elyssa
    Loneliness is a major risk factor for adverse health outcomes in older persons. Empathic solutions of diverse types and strategies have been developed throughout the world, but previous reviews provide limited or conflicting summaries of intervention effectiveness. This systematic review aimed to assess previous review quality and bias, summarize key findings of earlier reviews, and aggregate primary study data to compare interventions used to combat loneliness. The authors searched nine electronic databases and indices in late 2018 to identify systematic reviews of interventions to reduce loneliness in older people. 6925 records were found initially. Of these, 19 reviews met full inclusion criteria and encompassed 101 unique primary studies of interventions. Changing maladaptive social cognition to foster empathy was a more effective intervention strategy than enhancing social support, increasing social opportunities, or improving social skills. Poly-strategy programs were more helpful than singular approaches.