Identifying modifiable determinants of behavior is essential for developing effective strategies to promote health behaviors among older adults. Although social networks are potentially modifiable determinants of health behaviors, their longitudinal associations have not been established in previous studies. The present study examined whether a larger social network is associated with higher dietary variety, longer time spent exercising and shorter time spent viewing TV among older adults. This is a longitudinal study. The data of 908 Japanese older adults were obtained through a three-wave questionnaire survey (Wave 1, December 2017 to January 2018; Wave 2, after 1 year; Wave 3, after 3 years) and analyzed. In each wave of the survey, dietary variety (dietary variety score), exercise time (hours per day), TV viewing time (hours per day) and social network (family and friend subscales of the Japanese version of the abbreviated Lubben Social Network Scale) were measured. The present study used latent growth, cross-lagged and simultaneous effect models to investigate the longitudinal associations of family and friend social networks with dietary variety, exercise time and TV viewing time. However, these models did not show clear and robust associations. Whether social networks are determinants of health behaviors among older adults remains inconclusive.

The importance of promoting health behaviors among older adults is obvious. Identifying the modifiable determinants of health behaviors is essential for developing effective strategies to promote health behaviors. Although social networks are potentially modifiable determinants of health behaviors, their longitudinal associations have not been established in previous studies. This study examined the longitudinal associations between social networks and health behaviors among older adults. To address this issue, we conducted a three-wave questionnaire. However, we failed to find clear and robust associations between social networks and health behaviors. Whether social networks are determinants of health behaviors among older adults remains inconclusive.

This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/pages/standard-publication-reuse-rights)