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Typologies of loneliness, living alone and social isolation and their associations with physical and mental health.

Smith, Kimberley and Victor, C (2019) Typologies of loneliness, living alone and social isolation and their associations with physical and mental health. Ageing and Society, 39 (8). pp. 1709-1730.

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The relationship between living alone, loneliness and social isolation and how they are associated with health remains contentious. We sought to explore typologies based on shared experiences of loneliness, social isolation and living alone using Latent Class Analysis and determine how these groups may differ in terms of their physical and mental health. We used Wave 7 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (n=7032, mean age 67.3) and responses to the UCLA loneliness scale, household composition, participation in social/societal activities plus frequency of contact with friends, family and relatives for the Latent Class Analysis. The optimal number of groups were identified using model fit criteria. The sociodemographic characteristics of groups and health outcomes were explored using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. We identified a 6-cluster typology: 1.) No loneliness or isolation; 2.) Moderate loneliness 3.) Living alone; 4.) Moderate isolation; 5.) Moderate loneliness, living alone 6.) High loneliness, moderate isolation (with high likelihood of living alone). Groups experiencing loneliness and/or isolation were more likely to report poorer physical and mental health even after adjusting for sociodemographic confounders, this was particularly notable for group 6. Our results indicate that different typologies of living alone, loneliness and isolation can be identified using data-driven techniques, and can be differentiated by the number and severity of issues they experience.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Victor, C
Date : August 2019
DOI : 10.1017/S0144686X18000132
Copyright Disclaimer : © Cambridge University Press 2018. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Isolation, loneliness, living alone, typologies, health, older adults
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 31 Jan 2018 15:16
Last Modified : 02 Aug 2019 12:06

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