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Title: Is loneliness in later life a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Authors: Pikhartova, J
Bowling, A
Victor, C
Keywords: Age-stereotypes;ELSA;Expectation;Loneliness
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Aging and Mental Health, 2015
Abstract: Objectives: There are many stereotypes about ageing and later life. We looked at the association between expectations and stereotyping of loneliness in old age and actual self-reported loneliness status 8 years later in English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Method: Data from 4465 ELSA core members aged over 50 who responded to Waves 2 (2004) did not report loneliness in Wave 2, and responded to loneliness questions at least once between Waves 3 and 6 (2006–2012) were used in multivariable repeated measures logit regression analysis to estimate relationship between perceived stereotypes and expectation of loneliness in older age and actual loneliness reported within 8 years of follow-up. Results: Twenty-four per cent of respondents from the analytical sample agreed at Wave 2 that old age is time of loneliness and 33% expected to be lonely in old age. Loneliness was reported by 11.5% of respondents at Waves 3–6. Both stereotypes and expectation were significantly associated with later reported loneliness (OR 2.65 (95% CI 2.05–3.42) for stereotypes and 2.98 (95% CI 2.33–3.75) for expectations in age-sex adjusted analysis). Both variables significantly predicted future loneliness even when socio-demographic circumstances were taken into account and both variables were mutually adjusted although the effect was reduced (OR's 1.53 (95% CI 1.16–2.01) for stereotypes and 2.38 (95% CI 1.84–3.07) for expectations). Conclusions: Stereotypes and expectations related to loneliness in the old age were significantly associated with reported loneliness 8 years later. Interventions aimed at changing age-related stereotypes in population may have more impact on reducing loneliness than individually based services.
ISSN: 1360-7863
Appears in Collections:Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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