Objective: The recognition of dementia as a multifactorial disorder encourages the exploration of new pathways to understand its origins. Social health might play a role in cognitive decline and dementia, but conceptual clarity is lacking and this hinders investigation of associations and mechanisms. The objective is to develop a conceptual framework for social health to advance conceptual clarity in future studies. Process: We use the following steps: underpinning for concept advancement, concept advancement by the development of a conceptual model, and exploration of its potential feasibility. An iterative consensus-based process was used within the international multidisciplinary SHARED project. Conceptual framework: Underpinning of the concept drew from a synthesis of theoretical, conceptual and epidemiological work, and resulted in a definition of social health as wellbeing that relies on capacities both of the individual and the social environment. Consequently, domains in the conceptual framework are on both the individual (e.g., social participation) and the social environmental levels (e.g., social network). We hypothesize that social health acts as a driver for use of cognitive reserve which can then slow cognitive impairment or maintain cognitive functioning. The feasibility of the conceptual framework is demonstrated in its practical use in identifying and structuring of social health markers within the SHARED project. Discussion: The conceptual framework provides guidance for future research and facilitates identification of modifiable risk and protective factors, which may in turn shape new avenues for preventive interventions. We highlight the paradigm of social health in dementia as a priority for dementia research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was supported through funding organizations under the aegis of JPND 733051082: Netherlands, ZonMw grant number 733050831; Sweden, Res. C. Health, Working Life, Welf FORTE grant number 2018-01888; Australia, NHMRC RG181672 United Kingdom, Alz Society UK grant number 469; Germany, BMBF 01ED1905; and Poland, NCBiR (National Center for Research and Development in Poland, project number JPND/06/2020).
Copyright © 2022 Vernooij-Dassen, Verspoor, Samtani, Sachdev, Ikram, Vernooij, Hubers, Chattat, Lenart-Bugla, Rymaszewska, Szczesniak, Brodaty, Welmer, Maddock, van der Velpen, Wiegelmann, Marseglia, Richards, Melis, de Vugt, Moniz-Cook, Jeon, Perry and Wolf-Ostermann.