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Long-term predictors of loneliness in old age: results of a 20-year national study
School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Division Ageing and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2191-4728
Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden; Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Aging & Mental Health, ISSN 1360-7863, E-ISSN 1364-6915, Vol. 22, no 2, p. 190-196Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVES: The understanding of social phenomena is enhanced if individuals can be studied over longer periods. Regarding loneliness in old age, there is a general lack of longitudinal research. The aim of this study was to examine whether there is an association between loneliness in old age and social engagement 20 years earlier, as stated by life course theory and the convoy model.

METHOD: Data from the nationally representative Swedish Panel Study of Living Conditions of the Oldest Old (2002 and 2011 data collection waves) and the Swedish Level of Living Survey (1981 and 1991 data collection waves) were used. The sample included 823 individuals with an average age of 62.2 years at baseline and 82.4 years at follow-up.

RESULTS: Each form of social engagement in old age was significantly associated with the same form of social engagement 20 years earlier. Close forms of social engagement were associated with loneliness in old age; as were more distant forms of social engagement, but only when they were considered solely in old age.

CONCLUSION: Patterns of social engagement in old age were established at least 20 years earlier and close forms of social engagement are long-term predictors of loneliness, although current social engagement tended to be more influential on loneliness. The study underlines the importance of interventions targeted at close relationships that can provide social support in old age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018. Vol. 22, no 2, p. 190-196
Keyword [en]
Loneliness, convoy model, life course, longitudinal, social factors
National Category
Social Work Gerontology, specialising in Medical and Health Sciences Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-144488DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2016.1247425ISI: 000419876800005PubMedID: 27802772Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84994104449OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-144488DiVA: diva2:1177034
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE) [2012-1704]

Available from: 2018-01-24 Created: 2018-01-24 Last updated: 2018-02-07Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Lars

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