Loneliness and depression among older European adults: The role of perceived neighborhood built environment

Health Place. 2020 Mar:62:102280. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102280. Epub 2019 Dec 28.


Depression and loneliness act in a synergistic way among older adults. We tested two indicators of the perceived neighborhood built environment (BE) as moderators of the association between these conditions in older European adults. Positive perceptions of neighborhood BE were related to lower levels of loneliness but not to major depressive disorder (MDD). Reporting low BE usability was significantly related to a higher likelihood of feeling lonely except for those suffering from MDD, whereas reporting low BE walkability was significantly related with a high likelihood of loneliness particularly among those with MDD. Therefore, improving neighborhood BE and, specifically, its walkability, might result in a reduction in the prevalence of loneliness.

Keywords: Built environment; Depression; Loneliness; Older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Built Environment*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data