Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Joan K. Monin

Second Advisor

Melinda L. Irwin


Objectives. To examine the association between self-reported relationship closeness, loneliness, and engagement in shared activities with a person living with dementia (PLWD) in a community sample of family members and friends of PLWD. Methods. Using data from a Qualtrics-administered online survey, we examined involvement in shared activities of 51 respondents who have or had a family, friend, or intimate relationship with a PLWD. Outcome variables included relationship closeness, measured with the Inclusion of Other (IOS) scale, and loneliness, measured using a revised three-item questionnaire from the UCLA loneliness scale. Results. The main findings of the study were as follows: 1. There were no statistically significant differences in demographic characteristics between the "No Shared Activity" and "Shared Activity" groups 2. Participants who reported engagement in shared activities had a higher mean IOS score, on average, compared to participants not involved in shared activities, although the differences were not statistically significant 3. The logistic ordinal regression model revealed that greater age and longer relationship length were positively associated with IOS scores 4. Participants not involved in shared activities had a higher combined loneliness score compared to those involved in shared activities, although the difference was not statistically significant. Conclusion. Higher levels of engagement during shared activities might improve the perception of relationship closeness among family and friends of PLWD, although current findings do not support a statistically significant relationship. Analyses indicate that higher levels of engagement during shared activities and a longer relationship with the PLWD improve relationship closeness measurements. However, further research is needed to understand the mechanisms of the positive outcomes related to shared activities.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/10/2024