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Loneliness in old age
Dalarna University, School of Health and Social Studies, Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7685-3216
2011 (English)In: IAGG VII European Congress, Bologna, Italien, 2011Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Social exclusion has been defined as “a process whereby certain individuals are pushed at the edge of society and prevented from participating fully” (Council of the European Union, 2004: 8). Loneliness is a central aspect of social exclusion, which has been found to be detrimental to physical and mental health. Objectives: This paper presents data from the second, quantitative phase of a study examining how and to what extent older people are socially excluded, factors leading to social exclusion, and how social exclusion can be prevented/reduced. This presentation will focus on the data on loneliness. Methods: A questionnaire survey was undertaken, administered face-to-face with a random sample of 1,255 older people, half of whom lived in former industrial areas and half in rural areas. The study was conducted in Barnsley Metropolitan Borough, England. Among the many variables measured in the survey, loneliness was measured using a scale developed by de Jong-Gierveld and Kamphuis (1985). Results: Forty-six percent of the respondents experienced some level of loneliness, i.e. they were either moderately (38%), severely (5%) or very severely (3%) lonely. There was no significant difference between former industrial and rural areas regarding prevalence of loneliness, but, emotional loneliness was more common in former industrial areas than in rural areas. There was no significant association between loneliness (emotional, social, total) and length of stay at current address, area of residence, or gender. Amongst respondents aged 80 years or older, the proportion of lonely people was 55%, compared to 42% of those under the age of 80. This association is explained by civil status, as the level of loneliness amongst widows was 56% compared to 38% amongst non-widows, and when controlling for widowhood, there was no significant association between loneliness and age. There was also an association between loneliness and living alone. Conclusions: Loneliness becomes more common as people age, but should be understood as a consequence of becoming a widow and living alone rather than ageing per se.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bologna, Italien, 2011.
Research subject
Hälsa och välfärd, Social exkludering av äldre på före detta industriorter
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-5524OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:5524DiVA: diva2:522292
Conference
IAGG VII European Congress , Bologna, Italien, 2011
Available from: 2011-05-04 Created: 2011-05-04 Last updated: 2014-11-17Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf