Loneliness among the rural older people in Anhui, China: prevalence and associated factors

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Nov;26(11):1162-8. doi: 10.1002/gps.2656. Epub 2011 Jan 27.


Objectives: To clarify the prevalence of loneliness and evaluate the impact of social support, family function and socio-demographic factors on loneliness and their correlation among the rural older people in Anhui, China.

Methods: A sample of 5652 older people were surveyed using the UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles)-Loneliness Scale, the FAD (family assessment device), and the SSRS (Social Support Rating Scale).

Results: 78.1% of the older people had moderate to severe levels of loneliness. There was a great difference between loneliness level and subjects' age, marital status and income, family size and education level. Social support and family function were negatively associated with loneliness. Multiple regressions indicated that more social support and better family function offered protection against loneliness.

Conclusions: The high rate of loneliness among rural older people in Anhui deserves attention. Family function and social support have played an important role in the development and course of loneliness. The strategy and intervention to alleviate loneliness among rural older people should be designed to enhance family function and social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires