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Recognition of social health: A conceptual framework in the context of dementia research

Vernooij-Dassen, Myrra; Verspoor, Eline; Samtani, Suraj; Sachdev, Perminder S.; Ikram, M. Arfan; Vernooij, Meike W.; Hubers, Claudia; Chattat, Rabih; Lenart-Bugla, Marta; Rymaszewska, Joanna; Szczesniak, Dorota; Brodaty, Henry; Welmer, Anna Karin; Maddock, Jane; van der Velpen, Isabelle F.; Wiegelmann, Henrik; Marseglia, Anna; Richards, Marcus; Melis, Rene; de Vugt, Marjolein; Moniz-Cook, Esme; Jeon, Yun Hee; Perry, Marieke; Wolf-Ostermann, Karin


Myrra Vernooij-Dassen

Eline Verspoor

Suraj Samtani

Perminder S. Sachdev

M. Arfan Ikram

Meike W. Vernooij

Claudia Hubers

Rabih Chattat

Marta Lenart-Bugla

Joanna Rymaszewska

Dorota Szczesniak

Henry Brodaty

Anna Karin Welmer

Jane Maddock

Isabelle F. van der Velpen

Henrik Wiegelmann

Anna Marseglia

Marcus Richards

Rene Melis

Marjolein de Vugt

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Professor Esme Moniz-Cook
Professor of Clinical Psychology of Ageing and Dementia Care Research/ Dementia Research Work Group Lead

Yun Hee Jeon

Marieke Perry

Karin Wolf-Ostermann


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.


Vernooij-Dassen, M., Verspoor, E., Samtani, S., Sachdev, P. S., Ikram, M. A., Vernooij, M. W., …Wolf-Ostermann, K. (2022). Recognition of social health: A conceptual framework in the context of dementia research. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13, Article 1052009.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 24, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 15, 2022
Publication Date Dec 15, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 14, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 16, 2023
Journal Frontiers in Psychiatry
Electronic ISSN 1664-0640
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Article Number 1052009
Keywords Social health; Conceptual framework; Dementia prevention; Epidemiology; Cognitive reserve; Concept advancement
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Copyright Statement
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. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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