There are several major public health issues that have attracted healthcare specialists’ and researchers’ attention over the past few decades, such as food safety, obesity, drug overdose, alcohol consumption, and others. This list changes continuously depending on various factors and events happening in the world. The most recent pandemic, COVID-19, has brought about a serious public health problem: social isolation. According to Healy et al. (2020), the negative consequences of social isolation caused by lockdowns are overwhelming. This issue particularly refers to elderly people who gradually lose connection with the outer world and experience depression and excessive loneliness (Berg-Weger & Morley, 2020). The purpose of the paper is to summarize and critique an article reflecting scholarly research on social isolation as a global public health concern.
In their study, Sepúlveda-Loyola et al. (2020) analyze the impact of social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults. The design of the article is a narrative review, and the setting is a non-institutionalized community. The number of participants is 20,069, these being respondents from ten descriptive cross-sectional research papers. Sepúlveda-Loyola et al. (2020) have singled out the physical and mental aspects of the identified public health issue. Furthermore, the authors have identified the most effective strategies recommended for overcoming the health issues emerging in older individuals due to social isolation. Sepúlveda-Loyola et al. (2020) conclude that further research is needed in the identified field since the question requires more profound analyses with the involvement of specialists from different fields, such as geriatricians, physiotherapists, and psychiatrists.
The article under critique is a narrative inquiry, which is relevant since there has been no time for scholars to conduct quantitative research on this topic. The COVID-19 pandemic has been influencing people’s lifestyles for almost a year, bringing complications not only in the sphere of economics but also in individuals’ means of communication. Therefore, the question for analysis selected by the authors is highly crucial.
The number of participants in Sepúlveda-Loyola et al.’s (2020) study is sufficient to analyze the selected research question. Whereas the authors have not had an opportunity to perform an experimental study, they managed to collect a considerable amount of data on their research focus. Furthermore, 20,069 respondents were selected from the studies investigating participants no younger than sixty years old, which increases the validity and reliability of the research. The peculiarities of older adults’ response to social isolation require a thorough analysis and demand the development of positive changes in social work settings (Berg-Weger & Morley, 2020). A number of adverse mental health effects of social isolation have been identified, including depression and frequent mood changes (Pietrabissa & Simpson, 2020). In this respect, it is valid to emphasize the number of participants in Sepúlveda-Loyola et al.’s (2020) study as an attempt to include a diversity of opinions and make reliable conclusions on their basis.
One of the greatest assets of the authors’ work on the article is the inclusion criteria for the literature search. Sepúlveda-Loyola et al. (2020) used three highly respected databases: Google Scholar, Scielo, and Pubmed. Additionally, the authors utilized the articles written in three languages, which has increased the level of inclusion. What is more, the authors took into consideration international organizations’ materials focusing on physical and mental health recommendations.
While analyzing the article, it is necessary to discuss the list of references provided by the authors. Most of the sources utilized by Sepúlveda-Loyola et al. (2020) are recent and reliable. This fact signifies the endeavor to use the most reliable findings and make conclusions based on them. Sepúlveda-Loyola et al. (2020) have consulted nearly ninety sources, the majority of which were published in 2020. Hence, the data provided by the authors correspond to the requirement of authenticity, which is favored in scholarship. At the same time, one cannot but notice some inconsistencies in the formatting of the reference list, which signifies the authors’ lack of attention to detail. Still, the number of sources and their quality are suitable for a comprehensive research study.
The authors’ writing style is generally highly competent and conforms to the level of a scholarly article. However, some mistakes still could be noticed, such as “all age groups seem” or “visits with family members” (Sepúlveda-Loyola et al., 2020, p. 1). These errors diminish the reliability of the scholarly study since research articles require the highest level of mastery of language. Still, taking into consideration the authors’ citizenship, one could make allowances for the mastery of English since it is not their native language.
Despite some minor drawbacks, the article by Sepúlveda-Loyola et al. (2020) is a valuable source for anyone interested in the impact of social isolation on older people’s mental and physical health. Additionally, scholars offer some effective recommendations for overcoming the aftermath of confinement. The inclusion of a large number of participants and the extensive use of recently published sources makes the article a reliable source to apply when analyzing the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on elderly individuals.
Berg-Weger, M., & Morley, J. E. (2020). Loneliness and social isolation in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for gerontological social work. The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 24(5), 456-458.
Healy, J., Ivory, D., & Kovaleski, S. F. (2020). ‘A slow killer’: Nursing home residents wither in isolation forced by the virus. The New York Times.
Pietrabissa, G., & Simpson, S. G. (2020). Psychological consequences of social isolation during COVID-19 outbreak. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2201.
Sepúlveda-Loyola, W., Rodríguez-Sánchez, I., Pérez-Rodríguez, P., Ganz, F., Torralba, R., Oliveira, D. V., & Rodríguez-Mañas, L. (2020). Impact of social isolation due to COVID-19 on health in older people: Mental and physical effects and recommendations. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.