Predictors and Subjective Causes of Loneliness in an Aged Population

University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.85). 11/2005; 41(3):223-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.archger.2005.03.002
Source: PubMed


The aim of the study was to examine the prevalence and self-reported causes of loneliness among Finnish older population. The data were collected with a postal questionnaire from a random sample of 6,786 elderly people (>or=75 years of age). The response rate was 71.8% from community-dwelling sample. Of the respondents, 39% suffered from loneliness, 5% often or always. Loneliness was more common among rural elderly people than those living in cities. It was associated with advancing age, living alone or in a residential home, widowhood, low level of education and poor income. In addition, poor health status, poor functional status, poor vision and loss of hearing increased the prevalence of loneliness. The most common subjective causes for loneliness were illnesses, death of a spouse and lack of friends. Loneliness seems to derive from societal life changes as well as from natural life events and hardships originating from aging.

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    • "Known groups validity, comparing mean scores across groups known to differ in underlying concepts of interest, was evaluated by comparing subgroups of participants that were differentiated on relevant sociodemographic and health variables known to affect (emotional and social) loneliness feelings. We hypothesized that those aged 65 and older, who do not have a partner and reported lower health or limitations in daily functioning, would report higher levels of loneliness (Fokkema et al., 2012; Fokkema & Naderi, 2013; Hawkley et al., 2008; Luanaigh & Lawlor, 2008; Savikko et al., 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: We validate a translated version of the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale (DJGLS) for use among older migrants from Turkish and Moroccan descent and validate the original Dutch version of the same scale for Surinamese migrants in the Netherlands. The data were derived from a population-based cross-sectional study among community-dwelling individuals aged 55 and older. In addition to translating the DJGLS for these ethnic groups, several statistical analyses were performed to assess the scale's reliability and validity. The DJGLS proved to be internally consistent and to have adequate convergent validity among all ethnic groups. Latent structure analysis confirmed the two latent factors (emotional and social subscales) in all groups, but also showed that fit was not optimal in most groups. Known groups validity was observed using functional limitations and subjective health as grouping variables. The results provide sufficient support for use of the translated version of the 11-item DJGLS among Turkish and Moroccan older migrants and use of the Dutch version for Surinamese older migrants as a reliable and valid measure of loneliness. Fit of latent structural models varied between good and poor. Further research is needed to investigate ethnic differences in levels and determinants of loneliness. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
    The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 08/2015; DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbv044 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    • "Macro Level Macro-level factors of socio-cultural characteristics of immigrants' ethnic background and those of the mainstream of the receiving country are not often used in a comparative sense to understand the potential diversity of experiences of older immigrants. Transitions during the life course, especially international migration, have been shown to be decisive in creating opportunities and constraints for older persons to optimize and diversify social contacts in their new environment (Ajrouch et al. 2005; Fokkema et al. 2012; Savikko et al. 2005). For example, Kleinepier (2011) showed immigrants who are disadvantaged in reading and speaking the language of the receiving country have less contact with the native population. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to explore the loneliness of several groups of older immigrants in Canada compared to native-born older adults. Data from the Canadian General Social Survey, Cycle 22 (N older adults = 3,692) were used. The dependent variable is the 6 item De Jong Gierveld loneliness scale. Determinants of loneliness included country of birth, ethnic background (cultural context); belongingness (community context) and social networks (social context). Results showed that only some immigrant groups are significantly lonelier than older adults born in Canada. Immigrants with similar language and culture are not lonelier; while those from countries that differ in native language/culture are significantly higher on loneliness. Multivariate analyses showed the importance of cultural background, of composition of the network of relatives and friends, and of local participation and feelings of belonging to the Canadian society in explaining loneliness of older immigrants.
    Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 05/2015; 30(3). DOI:10.1007/s10823-015-9265-x
    • "The urban participants reported a lower level of loneliness than their rural counterparts. Similar results have been found in some previous studies (Savikko et al. 2005, Wang et al. 2011). In this study, the urban residential sample comprised a higher proportion of non-peasants (P < 0.001) with a higher economic level (P < 0.001). "
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    ABSTRACT: China has an ageing population with the number of older people living alone increasing. Living alone may increase the risk of loneliness of older people, especially for those in China where collectivism and filial piety are emphasised. Social support may fill the need for social contacts, thereby alleviating loneliness. However, little is known about loneliness and social support of older people living alone in China. This study investigated loneliness and social support of older people living alone, by conducting a cross-sectional questionnaire survey with a stratified random cluster sample of 521 community-dwelling older people living alone in a county of Shanghai. Data were collected from November 2011 to March 2012. The instruments used included the UCLA Loneliness Scale version 3 and the Social Support Rate Scale. The participants reported a moderate level of loneliness. Their overall social support level was low compared with the Chinese norm. Children were the major source of objective and subjective support. Of the participants, 53.9% (n = 281) and 47.6% (n = 248) asked for help and confided when they were in trouble, but 84.1% (n = 438) never or rarely attended social activities. The level of loneliness and social support differed among the participants with different sociodemographic characteristics. There were negative correlations between loneliness and overall social support and its three dimensions. The findings suggest that there is a need to provide more social support to older people living alone to decrease their feelings of loneliness. Potential interventions include encouraging more frequent contacts from children, the development of one-to-one 'befriending' and group activity programmes together with identification of vulnerable subgroups.
    Health & Social Care in the Community 03/2014; 22(4). DOI:10.1111/hsc.12099 · 1.15 Impact Factor
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