A critical review and development of a conceptual model of exclusion from social relations for older people

V. Burholt, B. Winter, M. Aartsen, C. Constantinou, L. Dahlberg, V. Feliciano, J. de Jong Gierveld, S. van Regenmortel, C. Waldegrave

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Social exclusion is complex and dynamic, and it leads to the non-realization of social, economic, political or cultural rights or participation within a society. This critical review takes stock of the literature on exclusion of social relations. Social relations are defined as comprising social resources, social connections and social networks. An evidence review group undertook a critical review which integrates, interprets and synthesizes information across studies to develop a conceptual model of exclusion from social relations. The resulting model is a subjective interpretation of the literature and is intended to be the starting point for further evaluations. The conceptual model identifies individual risks for exclusion from social relations (personal attributes, biological and neurological risk, retirement, socio-economic status, exclusion from material resources and migration). It incorporates the evaluation of social relations, and the influence of psychosocial resources and socio-emotional processes, sociocultural, social-structural, environmental and policy contextual influences on exclusion from social relations. It includes distal outcomes of exclusion from social relations, that is, individual well-being, health and functioning, social opportunities and social cohesion. The dynamic relationships between elements of the model are also reported. We conclude that the model provides a subjective interpretation of the data and an excellent starting point for further phases of conceptual development and systematic evaluation(s). Future research needs to consider the use of sophisticated analytical tools and an interdisciplinary approach in order to understand the underlying biological and ecopsychosocial associations that contribute to individual and dynamic differences in the experience of exclusion from social relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-19
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Early online date20 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Disadvantage
  • Later life
  • Knowledge sythesis
  • Old-age exclusion
  • Social relations


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