A community survey of loneliness

J Adv Nurs. 2004 Apr;46(1):88-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2003.02968.x.


Background: Loneliness is associated with an increased incidence of a wide range of physical and mental health problems. The detection, prevention and amelioration of loneliness is an important public health issue for nurses.

Methods: This study reports findings from the 2002 Central Queensland Social Survey. The aims of the study were to (i). establish the extent of loneliness in a community sample; and (ii). to identify the factors that are predictors of loneliness. A random sample of 1241 subjects were interviewed by Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing. This interview included the Loneliness Scale formulated by De Jong Gierveld and Kamphuis.

Findings: Loneliness is a common phenomenon and risk factors include experience of domestic violence in current relationship, not having recent paid employment, not being married/partnered, and the number of children under 18 years in a household. Loneliness is not associated with higher rates of health care professional consultations.

Conclusion: Loneliness is a very common problem and should be seen as a major public health issue. Nurses, through a community capacity building framework, have a major role to play in the prevention of loneliness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires