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Rural Health
Resources by Topic: Social connectedness

A Pandemic of Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Burden of "Social Distancing" in Rural Communities During an Era of Heightened Suicide Risk
Discusses the potentially heightened risk of suicide in rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examines how decreased access to mental healthcare, economic stress, stigma, and social isolation could increase the risk of suicide in rural areas.
Author(s): Natalie B. Riblet, Susan P. Stevens, Bradley V. Watts, Brian Shiner
Citation: Journal of Rural Health, 37(1), 207-210
Date: 01/2021
Type: Document
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An Evidence-Based Walking Program in Oregon Communities: Step It Up! Survivors
Describes the implementation and effectiveness of Step It Up! Survivors (SIUS), an evidence-based program designed to help promote social connections and increase physical activity among cancer survivors and their family and friends. Discusses the acceptability, feasibility, cost, sustainability, and other factors associated with implementing SIUS in Oregon, including responses from 6 rural organizations.
Author(s): Cynthia K. Perry, Laura P. Campbell, Jessica Currier, et al.
Citation: Preventing Chronic Disease, 17
Date: 12/2020
Type: Document
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Meeting the Social Needs of Older Adults in Rural Areas
Discusses the risks of social isolation and loneliness among rural older adults. Details interventions to address this issue, as well as models that improve social connectedness for older adults.
Author(s): Carrie Henning-Smith
Citation: JAMA Health Forum
Date: 11/2020
Type: Document
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Rural America's Senior Citizens: Considerations for Transportation, Healthcare Access, Connectedness, Nutrition and Economics
Policy paper providing an overview of rural older adults. Examines the challenges rural older adults face in accessing healthcare. Discusses how transportation, social isolation, nutrition, and economics impact the health outcomes of this population.
Author(s): Tasha Brown, Kay Miller Temple, Josie Rudolphi
Date: 10/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: National Rural Health Association
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Stress and Physical Activity in Rural Cancer Survivors: The Moderating Role of Social Support
Details a study on the relationship between social support, leisure-time physical activity, and psychological distress among rural and urban cancer survivors. Breaks down data by age, gender, and cancer type, among other measures.
Author(s): Scherezade K. Mama, Nishat Bhuiyan, Joshua Smyth, Kathryn H. Schmitz
Citation: Journal of Rural Health, 36(4), 543-548
Date: 09/2020
Type: Document
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America at a Glance: Social Isolation and Loneliness During the First Wave of COVID-19
Explores how COVID-19 and related stay-at-home orders contributed to feelings of social isolation and loneliness among people with disabilities. Compares feelings of social isolation and loneliness among urban and rural groups before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Discusses the possible impact of technological accommodations on these feelings.
Date: 08/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organizations: Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, University of Montana: Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities
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The Role of Transportation in Addressing Social Isolation in Older Adults
Summarizes the findings of a research project that included a literature review and interviews of experts to determine if a lack of transportation is associated with the probability of social isolation among older adults. Highlights common themes among three examples of transit programs, identifies funding sources for rural and urban organizations, and offers recommendations for additional research.
Additional links: Condensed Report
Author(s): Carrie Henning-Smith, Christina Worrall, Madelyn Klabunde, Yingling Fan
Date: 07/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organizations: National Center for Mobility Management, State Health Access Data Assistance Center, University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
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Rural Social Isolation and Loneliness: Rates, Importance, and Identifying Risk
Three-part webinar recording discussing loneliness and isolation in rural areas before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part one details isolation rates and risk assessment; part two highlights programs working to make connections with the aging rural populations during the pandemic; and part three explores community building and grief support during COVID-19.
Additional links: Session Three: Rural but Reachable: How to Build Grief Support by Creating Community, Session Two: The Evolving Nature of Social Connections: Promoting Well-Being in Times of Crisis
Date: 07/2020
Type: Video/Multimedia
Sponsoring organization: Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
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Supporting the Health and Wellbeing of Middle-Aged Adults Living Alone in Rural Counties
Results of a study exploring the characteristics of adults ages 35-64 who live alone, and the heightened health risks and challenges related to social isolation, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Uses data from a survey of 14 healthcare providers in rural counties with a high percentage of middle-aged adults living alone. Features a county-level map with breakdowns by percentage of people living alone in rural areas.
Author(s): Carrie Henning-Smith, Mariana Tuttle, Ashley Hernandez, Jonathan Schroeder, Katy Kozhimannil
Date: 07/2020
Type: Document
Sponsoring organization: University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
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Social Determinants of Health and 90‐Day Mortality After Hospitalization for Heart Failure in the REGARDS Study
Uses data from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study to examine associations between social determinants of health (SDOH) and risk of 90-day mortality after heart failure (HF) hospitalization among Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older. Some of the SDOH considered include African American race, social isolation, rural residence, living in a high poverty ZIP code or Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), and more.
Author(s): Madeline R. Sterling, Joanna Bryan Ringel, Laura C. Pinheiro, et al.
Citation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 9(9)
Date: 04/2020
Type: Document
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