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Risk factors for loneliness in old age: Europe, the US and Vietnam
Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ, Institute of Gerontology. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Ageing - living conditions and health.
2010 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Risk Factors for Loneliness in Old Age.

Bo Malmberg, Adam Davey, Gerdt Sundström, Steve Zarit

Loneliness in old age varies based on measurement, country, culture etc. More than two decades of research has, for example, indicated that feelings of loneliness are more frequently reported in southern Europe compared to Scandinavian countries like Sweden or Denmark. Although loneliness varies often reported reasons for or correlations with loneliness are rather alike. Increasing age, female gender, widowhood and bad health is reported to co-vary with loneliness. In this study we use European SHARE data from 2008 (N=8 787), US HRS 2006 data (N=15 072) and data from a local study in Da Nang, Viet Nam (N=588) to discuss risk factors for loneliness in clearly different settings. In the SHARE study lower prevalence of loneliness was consistently associated with living together with a spouse/partner in all participating countries and is also true in US and Viet Nam. Also perceived health typically co-varied reported loneliness.

Table, logistic regression showing risk for loneliness depending on living arrangements and subjective health in Europe, USA and Viet Nam. ( Adjusted for age, years of education, gender and in Europe Country and in USA ethnicity). 

Living arrangements and subjective health

Europe

USA

Viet Nam

Living alone, bad health (ref.)

1

1

1

Living alone, good health

.51 (.42-.63)

.43 (.39-.49)

.42 (.22-.81)

Not living alone, bad health

.25 (.21-.30)

.33 (.29-.38)

.30 (.17-.51)

Not living alone, good health

.10 (.08-.12)

.09 (.08-.11)

.11 (.06-.11)

 

The results from the logistic regression analyses are shown in the table. There is a strong association between loneliness and the combination of living arrangements and subjective health in all the three tests. Persons who live alone and feel unhealthy have ten times the risk for loneliness compared to persons who live together in partnership and feel healthy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-13938OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-13938DiVA: diva2:377709
Conference
63rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans
Available from: 2010-12-14 Created: 2010-12-14

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