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Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2019 Apr 18:1-10. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2019.1602705. [Epub ahead of print]

Lonely SARTs: loneliness and sustained attention in the Irish longitudinal study of aging.

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a UK CRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health , Queen's University Belfast , Belfast , UK.
b School of Business , National College of Ireland , Dublin 1 , Ireland.
c School of Nursing, School of Medicine, and School of Medical Gerontology , Trinity College , Dublin 2 , Ireland.


Based on biologically plausible mechanisms and previous research, it is possible to hypothesize a reciprocal association between sustained attention and loneliness. We investigated this association using a cross-lagged modeling approach. Using data from 6,239 participants aged over 50 in TILDA, a nationally representative study of aging, we used structural equation models to investigate potential cross-lagged associations between sustained attention and loneliness, measured at baseline and again after four years. Sustained attention at baseline had a small association with loneliness four years later, but loneliness at baseline was not associated with sustained attention at follow-up. Auto-regressive associations were strong for both loneliness over time and sustained attention over time. Sustained attention may account for a small proportion of the variance in loneliness over time among older adults, and may constitute a risk factor in the development of loneliness. Implications for the identification of at-risk individuals and the prevention of loneliness are discussed.


Cognitive; cross-lagged; observational; structural equation modelling

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