Loneliness as a disturbing factor in health and well-being

Volume 6 - Issue - 2
Aini Pehkonen Sanna Sintonen
Pages: 61-77 Download Count : 79 View Count: 119 Facebook Share on Google+ Save to Zotero Save to Mendeley

Abstract:


This study analyses how loneliness influences health and social well-being among older people who living alone, and whether the effect of loneliness is invariant between men and women. Empirical evidence was gathered with a mail survey using multistage random sampling. The data included 425 older Finnish adults living alone. Using multi-item measures for loneliness, social network, satisfaction related to current social relationships, and self-evaluation of well-being, a research model was tested using structural equation modelling with a multigroup approach in order to test gender differences. The results indicate that loneliness has a negative effect on health, cognitive ability, and relationship satisfaction, and affects social networks. A multigroup comparison between genders revealed that the relationships between loneliness and indicators of health and social well-being are similar among men and women. Loneliness and especially its side effects on well-being could be eliminated by developing supportive actions. The results demonstrate that the social care system, working together with health authorities, has a huge opportunity to develop service strategies that respond to loneliness.

Keywords

  • Older people
  • living alone
  • loneliness
  • health
  • social well-being
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