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Seul Ki Lee 1 Article
Association Between Objective Social Isolation and Unmet Medical Needs: A Nationwide Cross-sectional Study in Korea
Jeong Min Yang, Seul Ki Lee, Jae Hyun Kim
J Prev Med Public Health. 2024;57(3):242-251.   Published online April 27, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.23.516
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Objectives
The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between objective social isolation (SI) and unmet medical needs (UMN) in adults aged 19 and older.
Methods
A cross-sectional analysis was conducted of 208 619 adults aged 19 and older, excluding missing data, using the 2019 Korea Community Health Survey. To analyze the association between objective SI and UMN, the chi-square test and logistic regression analysis were performed.
Results
The prevalence of UMN was 1.14 times higher (odds ratio [OR], 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06 to 1.23) among those with SI than among those without SI, and the OR for groups with 5 SI types was 2.77 (95% CI, 1.86 to 4.12) compared to those with no SI types. In addition, a stratified analysis by age group showed that the association between SI and UMN existed even in groups under 64 years old. However, among those aged 65 and older, SI was associated with an OR of 1.53 (95% CI, 1.37 to 1.71) for UMN compared to non-SI. As the number of SI types increased, the prevalence of UMN also increased, indicating a strong association between SI and UMN in older adults.
Conclusions
This study found that individuals with SI experienced UMN due to fear and anxiety about interpersonal relationships. Therefore, based on the results of this cross-sectional study, it is necessary to investigate the causal relationship between SI and UMN through future longitudinal data.
Summary
Korean summary
본 연구는 2019년 지역사회건강조사를 활용하여 사회적 고립과 미충족의료 간의 연관성을 분석한 연구이다. 분석 결과 사회적 고립이 있을 경우 비사회적고립 집단에 비하여 미충족의료 경험률이 높았고, 사회적 고립의 강도가 높아질수록 강한 연관성을 발견할 수 있었다. 본 연구 결과를 바탕으로 미충족의료 취약 집단에 대한 정책적, 제도적 기반 마련이 요구된다.
Key Message
This study analyzed the association between social isolation and unmet medical needs using the 2019 Korea Community Health Survey. The analysis revealed that individuals experiencing social isolation had a higher rate of unmet medical needs compared to the non-social isolation group. Furthermore, a stronger association was observed as the intensity of social isolation increased. Based on the results of this study, there is a need to establish policy and institutional foundations to support vulnerable groups with unmet medical needs.

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health