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Predictors of loneliness among older women and men in Sweden: A national longitudinal study
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Social Work. Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet & Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7685-3216
National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden.
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8795-7555
Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet & Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
2015 (English)In: Aging & Mental Health, ISSN 1360-7863, E-ISSN 1364-6915, Vol. 19, no 5, 409-417 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: Longitudinal research on loneliness in old age has rarely considered loneliness separately for men and women, despite gender differences in life experiences. The objective of this study was to examine the extent to which older women and men (70C) report feelings of loneliness with a focus on: (a) changes in reported loneliness as people age, and (b) which factors predict loneliness.

Method: Data from the 2004 and 2011 waves of SWEOLD, a longitudinal national survey, was used (n D 587). The prediction of loneliness in 2011 by variables measured in 2004 and 20042011 variable change scores was examined in three logistic regression models: total sample, women and men. Variables in the models included: gender, age, education, mobility problems, depression, widowhood and social contacts.

Results: Older people moved into and out of frequent loneliness over time, although there was a general increase in loneliness with age. Loneliness at baseline, depression increment and recent widowhood were significant predictors of loneliness in all three multivariable models. Widowhood, depression, mobility problems and mobility reduction predicted loneliness uniquely in the model for women; while low level of social contacts and social contact reduction predicted loneliness uniquely in the model for men.

Conclusion: This study challenges the notion that feelings of loneliness in old age are stable. It also identifies important gender differences in prevalence and predictors of loneliness. Knowledge about such differences is crucial for the development of effective policy and interventions to combat loneliness in later life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2015. Vol. 19, no 5, 409-417 p.
Keyword [en]
loneliness; gender; predictors; longitudinal; widowhood
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Health and Welfare
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-15003DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2014.944091PubMedID: 25126996OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-15003DiVA: diva2:739875
Available from: 2014-08-22 Created: 2014-08-22 Last updated: 2015-12-10Bibliographically approved

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