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J Aging Health. 2016 Aug;28(5):775-95. doi: 10.1177/0898264315611664. Epub 2015 Oct 21.

Longitudinal Relationship Between Loneliness and Social Isolation in Older Adults: Results From the Cardiovascular Health Study.

Author information

1
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, USA peterjo@ohsu.edu.
2
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, USA.
3
University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To understand the longitudinal relationship between loneliness and isolation.

METHOD:

Participants included 5,870 adults 65 years and older (M = 72.89 ± 5.59 years) from the first 5 years of the Cardiovascular Health Study. Loneliness was assessed using a dichotomized loneliness question. Social isolation was assessed using six items from the Lubben Social Network Scale. Yearly life events were included to assess abrupt social network changes. Mixed effects logistic regression was employed to analyze the relationship between isolation and loneliness.

RESULTS:

Higher levels of social isolation were associated with higher odds of loneliness, as was an increase (from median) in level of social isolation. Life events such as a friend dying were also associated with increased odds of loneliness.

DISCUSSION:

These results suggest that average level of isolation and increases in the level of isolation are closely tied to loneliness, which has implications for future assessment or monitoring of loneliness in older adult populations.

KEYWORDS:

Cardiovascular Health Study; loneliness; longitudinal methods; social isolation

PMID:
26491043
PMCID:
PMC4840102
DOI:
10.1177/0898264315611664
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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