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Table 1 Summary of Variables

From: Social isolation and health outcomes among older people in China

Variable Description Coding Percentage/Mean
(N=5,419)
Dependent variable (Health outcomes in 2014)
Self-reported health (SRH) It originally contains 5 ordered scales: very good, good, fair, poor, and very poor. 0= very good and good 38.87%
1= very poor, poor and fair 61.13%
Cognitive impairment It is measured with the Chinese version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE); the total score range is 0–30. 0= MMSE score less than 18 79.27%
1= MMSE more than 18 20.73%
Difficulty with ADLs It includes 6 indexes: bathing, dressing, using the toilet, indoor walking, eating, and getting up and down. 0= no difficulty with any of the six ADLs 73.44%
1= difficulty with any of the six ADLs 26.56%
Difficulty with IADLs It includes 8 indexes: visiting neighbours, going shopping, making food, washing clothes, walking one kilometre, carrying 5kg weight, crouching and standing three times, and taking public transportation. 0= no difficulty with any of the eight IADLs 34.71%
1= difficulty with any of the eight IADLs 65.29%
Independent variable
Kinlessness  
Have no spouse 0=Married and live with spouse 38.44%
1=Never married 1.14%
2=Recent loss of spouse 6.24%
3=Distant loss of spouse 54.18%
Have no children 0=Have living children 85.13%
1=Never gave birth 2.18%
2=Recent loss of children 10.96%
3=Distant loss of children 1.73%
Have no siblings 0=Have living siblings 54.71%
1=Have no siblings in lifetime 5.50%
2=Recent loss of siblings 9.19%
3=Distant loss of siblings 30.60%
Lack of social contacts    
Live alone Those who became solitary living between 2011 and 2014 0= no 97.45%
1= yes 2.55%
Had no children visiting Those whose children were alive but ceased frequent visiting between 2011 and 2014 0= no 85.17%
1= yes 14.83%
Had no siblings visiting Those whose siblings were alive but ceased frequent visiting between 2011 and 2014 0= no 81.15%
1= yes 18.85%
Not participating in social activities Those who withdrew from social activities between 2011 and 2014 0= no 87.52%
1= yes 12.48%
Subjective social isolation    
Felt lonely Those who reported loneliness between 2011 and 2014 0= no 79.9%
1= yes 20.1%
Had no one to talk Those who were not able to find anyone to talk when in need between 2011 and 2014 0= no 95.79%
1= yes 4.21%
Had no one to seek for help Those who were not able to find anyone to seek for help when in need between 2011 and 2014 0= no 89.5%
1= yes 10.5%
Covariates (in 2011)
Age   Min=65 Max=114 Mean=82.08
Sex   0= female 53.37%
1= male 46.63%
Self-rated SES Self-rated socioeconomic status 1= lower 16.08%
2= fair 65.12%
3= higher 18.8%
Education Years of schooling Min=0 Max=20 Mean=2.64
Residence Living in the rural area 0= no 56.74%
1= yes 43.26%
Smoking Smoke at present 0= no 87.61%
1= yes 12.39%
Drinking Drink at present 0= no 82.86%
1= yes 17.14%
Leisure activities It includes 3 indexes: gardening, reading, and watching TV. The score range of each item is from 0–4, presenting the frequency of doing the leisure activities: never, sometimes, monthly, weekly, every day. Min=0 Max=12 Mean=4.64
Physical exercise Regular exercise at present 0= no 82.89%
1= yes 17.11%
Social services Whether the respondent receive any social services in their community: personal care, home visit, psychological consulting, daily shopping, social and recreation, legal aid, healthcare education. 0= no 46.9%
1= yes 53.1%