Social Isolation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Conceptual and Measurement Assessement

Véronique Deslauriers , Université de Montréal
Simona Bignami, Université de Montréal
Valérie Delaunay, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
John Sandberg, The George Washington University

Growing interest towards social networks has yielded valuable insights into the influence of social isolation on health, well-being and life expectancy. Most of this literature, however, is limited to older populations in Western countries, preventing a comprehensive understanding of how the lack of interpersonal relationships shapes health behaviors in different contexts and for other age groups. The accuracy of its measurement has also often been constrained by the limited scope of available network data. Our aims are to develop a novel conceptual framework and to elaborate a synthetic measure of social isolation adapted to an African context. Using sociocentric network data collected in rural Senegal, this paper seeks to provide updated tools for understanding social interactions in Africa. This paper will yield original conceptual and measurement contributions to a better context-specific grasp of normative health-related behaviors.

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 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2