The demographics of loneliness among older people in Perth, Western Australia
To determine the prevalence and demographic correlates of loneliness in a sample of older people in Perth, Western Australia. Methods:
People aged 65 years and over living in private dwellings were recruited randomly, stratified by socioeconomic area, sex and 5-year age groups to 85 years. A total of 353 people with mean age of 77.5 years responded to a mailed questionnaire comprising demographic questions and three measures of loneliness. Results:
Severe loneliness was reported by 7.0% of the sample and feeling lonely sometimes by 31.5%. Higher levels of loneliness were reported by single participants, those who lived alone and those with worse self-rated health. The protective value against loneliness of social networks appears to be, in order of importance: friends, relatives, neighbours and children. Conclusions:
Although loneliness is not universally reported by older Perth residents, its prevalence is still considerable and worthy of attention from mental health practitioners and policy-makers.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia 2: Centre for Research on Ageing, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia 3: School of Population Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Publication date: June 1, 2007