Living alone, social support, and feeling lonely among the elderly

Shu-Chuan Jennifer YEH, Sing Kai LO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study aimed to describe the characteristics of the elderly population living alone, and to examine how living alone relates to feeling lonely. Interviews were conducted with a stratified random sample of 4,859 elderly individuals living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Variables collected included demographic information, living alone or not, activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ), chronic conditions, perceived social support, and a subjective measure of feeling lonely. Using logistic regression, it was found that factors associated with living alone included gender, marital status, occupation, source of income, religion, and IADL. Living alone was, in turn, related to decreased levels of both perceived social support and feeling lonely after adjustment for potential confounders. Managing retired life is important for adult elders, particularly for men. Lack of social support is common among the elderly community who live alone, which could well be a main reason for this group to feel lonely. As loneliness is linked to physical and mental health problems, increasing social support and facilitating friendship should be factored into life-style management for communities of elderly. Copyright © 2004 Society for Personality Research (Inc.).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
JournalSocial Behavior and Personality
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Fingerprint

Activities of Daily Living
Social Support
Emotions
Loneliness
Marital Status
Religion
Population Characteristics
Taiwan
Occupations
Personality
Life Style
Mental Health
Logistic Models
Demography
Interviews
Research

Citation

Yeh, S.-C. J., & Lo, S. K. (2004). Living alone, social support, and feeling lonely among the elderly. Social Behavior and Personality, 32(2), 129-138. doi: 10.2224/sbp.2004.32.2.129