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University of Iowa News Release


March 8, 2007

Professor To Discuss Importance Of Social Networks For Older Adults March 20

Isolation is as much of a risk to older adults' health as smoking, according to a social work researcher who is visiting the University of Iowa this month.

Jim Lubben, an Anamosa native and the Louise McMahon Ahern University Chair at the Boston College School of Social Work, will present "The Importance of Social Support Networks to Physical and Mental Health Among Older Adults" at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center assembly room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Lubben developed a tool to measure how much support older adults believe they receive from family, friends and neighbors. The Lubben Social Network Scale has been used in research and practical settings internationally, frequently to assess needs of senior citizens in hospitals, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities and doctors' offices. Low scores have been correlated with mortality, hospitalization and depression. For details, visit

Published research by Lubben includes studies about older adults in the United States, Korea, Mexico, Japan and China. He held visiting scholar appointments at the University of Hong Kong, the National University of Singapore and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, and participated in the United Nations World Assembly on Aging.

Sponsors of Lubben's visit include the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences School of Social Work and Aging Studies Program, the College of Nursing, the Department of Health Management and Policy in the College of Public Health, the Center on Aging, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,; Program: Mercedes Bern-Klug, UI School of Social Work, 319-335-1265,