Loneness in the Older Adult Population
There has been a considerable amount of inquiry which has associated loneliness to depression, low self-esteem, and physical illness (Hawley & Cacioppo, 2007; Sorkin, Rook, & Lu, 2002). Loneliness can also be detrimental to health as well as overall well-being later in life due to recent evidence implying that it accelerates physiological deterioration and advancement of chronic diseases in the elderly (Hawkley & Cacioppo, 2007).
The main points the article seeks to evaluate is (1) if emotional loneliness and social loneliness in later life is multidimensional; (2) if positive and negative social exchanges are associated with either emotional loneliness or social loneliness; and (3) if social exchange relates to emotional loneliness and social loneliness as compared to formerly married older individuals.
The study population was from the Later Life Study of Social Exchanges which was a five-wave, 2 year longitudinal study being non-institutionalized with English-speaking older adults who resided in the United States. The sampling frame came from the Medicare Beneficiary Eligibility List of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services consisting of information on nearly all older adults in the United States. Interviews began in 2000; wave 1 data collected 916 sample of older adults ranging from 65 to 91 years of age (M=74.13, SD=6.63). Of the total participants, 62 percent represented females; 83 percent were Caucasian; 54 percent were married or in marriage-like relationship, 34 percent were widowed, and the rest were separated or divorced being 8 percent and 4 percent were never married. All study participants closely resembled the older American population based upon 2000 census data
Findings concluded that both positive and negative exchanges did predict both types of loneness. Older adults who have companionship and emotional support were less associated with either type of loneliness. Those who felt rejection/neglect, unsympathetic/insensitive behavior and or other failures were associated with an increase in both emotional and social loneliness.
Companionship, emotional support, and their negative counterparts were related more to loneliness than information or instrumental support were. Also of all social exchanges each was significantly associated with emotional or social loneliness for current or former married elders. Married participants also experienced less emotional loneliness and unsympathetic/insensitive behavior was related to an increase in emotional loneliness. Finally both companionship and rejection/neglect were significantly related to social loneliness with those who were formerly married, but companionship was related more to social loneliness among currently married
This research sought to bring the associations between both types of loneliness and positive as well as negative social exchanges. Since losing a spouse is...