By Corbin Smith
The Research and Evidence-based Practice Conference sponsored by the College of Nursing has quickly become one of the highlights for both students and faculty annually. This year, due to COVID-19, we are disappointed that we are unable to present the incredible research done by students and faculty all together in person like normal. Nevertheless, the show must go on! There were many powerful presentations to not share them with our peers. For the next three days, we will highlight some of them.
One of the projects presented was titled “Social Connection Among Hispanic Elders with Sensory Impairments”. This study was conducted by BYU College of Nursing assistant professor Corinna Tanner PhD, RN and included Jeremy Yorgason PhD, FGSA, Melanie Serrao Hill PhD, Avalon White BS and was presented by Stephanie Richardson and fourth-semester nursing student Shaylee Bench.
The project purpose was to examine the concept of social isolation among the older Hispanic demographic and its association with sensory impairments such as vision and hearing impairments. In essence, the group was researching whether sensory impairment in a Hispanic elder can increase the risk of social isolation, that of which can lead to many negative effects like depression, anxiety and decreased physical health.
For this specific study, social isolation was measured via a composite construct comprised of 5 items: living situation, social network size, attendance at religious services, participation in volunteer work and attendance at clubs or other social activities. Sensory impairments were measured through self-reporting of impairments and dichotomous variables.
After months of research, it was concluded that sensory impairment does not contribute significantly to social isolation among Hispanic elders. Nevertheless, was determined that more studies are needed to gain information about social isolation among this demographic because the research showed that Hispanic elders are at an increased risk of social isolation compared to their Non-Hispanic white counterparts. The health consequences associated with social isolation is dangerous and can even include premature death, so measures must be taken to assure the safety of our elderly Hispanic friends.
Two fun facts:
This image is Dr. Tanner’s grandmother. The research was inspired from memories of her.
This image features Dr. Tanner in the basket on the left (his right). Understanding cultural values is important to her as her family heritage is strong.