Psychological correlates of loneliness in the older adult

Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 1991 Jun;5(3):165-70. doi: 10.1016/0883-9417(91)90017-y.


Loneliness is the emotional response to the discrepancy between desired and available relationships. As people grow old, the likelihood of experiencing age-related losses increases. Such losses may impede the maintenance or acquisition of desired relationships, resulting in a higher incidence of loneliness. This pilot study examines how loneliness relates to age-related losses, hopelessness, self-transcendence, and spiritual well-being in a convenience sample of 107 adults aged 65 years or older. The collective utility of the independent variables in predicting loneliness was investigated by means of a regression decision tree with an automatic random subset crossvalidation procedure. This procedure explained 46% of the variance. Higher scores for age-related losses and hopelessness were associated with higher loneliness scores. Higher scores for self-transcendence and existential spiritual well-being were associated with lower loneliness scores.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Motivation
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support