Occupational therapy, loneliness and social isolation: a thematic review of the literature

Tracy Collins, Deborah Davys, Rachel Martin, Rachel Russell, Christine Kenney

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

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Abstract

Background/Aims
Loneliness and social isolation are thought to have a negative impact on health and wellbeing. There is little literature that provides an explicit focus on loneliness and social isolation in occupational therapy practice. The aim of this study was to explore themes related to loneliness and social isolation in occupational therapy-related literature and consider the implications for practice.

Methods
CINAHL, Medline, Pub Med, AMed, PsycINFO, TRIP Database, and Science direct and Web of science databases were used to identify articles pertaining to occupational therapy, loneliness and social isolation.

Results
A total of 20 articles were included and three themes were identified: loneliness and social isolation are detrimental to health and wellbeing; factors associated with increased loneliness and social isolation; factors that protect against the impact of loneliness and social isolation.

Conclusions
Loneliness and social isolation have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the people occupational therapists work with. Occupational therapy practice should include the recognition and assessment of loneliness and social isolation, and interventions to help reduce any impacts on health and wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Volume27
Issue number10
Early online date31 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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