Kathryn is interested in researching health inequalities among older adults in Switzerland, focusing on the areas of social capital, loneliness and social isolation. In 2017 she co-authored the first policy brief of the SLHS: Strengthening social participation of socially disadvantaged older adults in Switzerland.
Growing research shows that loneliness and social isolation are important contributors to negative health outcomes. Even though these conditions can affect all ages, older individuals may more frequently suffer from social isolation and loneliness due to life-changing events, including the loss of close friends and relatives, or retirement.
Social participation has been proposed as a means to reduce loneliness and social isolation and associated negative health impacts. Social participation can take place through various activities, which can include contributing to society, helping others and interacting with others, either on a specific activity such as organized sports, or a non-specific activity.
This project seeks to shed light on the relationship of different forms of social participation and its association with health outcomes and life satisfaction among the elderly population in Switzerland. Results of this project will not only be important for research in the field but will also have important implications for the development of programs that encourage social participation among the elderly in Switzerland.