[Coping with loneliness: evaluation of a group course for elderly widows]

Tijdschr Gerontol Geriatr. 1994 Dec;25(6):250-4.
[Article in Dutch]


The present study was designed to evaluate a group course of 11 sessions, aimed at reducing loneliness in elderly widows. Twenty widows participated (mean age: 67 yrs), who were all reasonably or very satisfied with the experience of participation as well as with the format and leadership of the course. At the beginning of the course, loneliness was a problem for each participant, and questionnaire scores for depression, well-being and social contacts (i.e. loneliness) were unfavourable. At the end of the course, one third of the participants indicated on an evaluation form that feelings of loneliness had become less intense. The corresponding questionnaire scores, however, did not improve significantly. However, rather large positive changes were found for depressive symptoms and for positive social support, which were maintained at a 3-month follow-up measurement. The participants with higher depression scores were also the ones who showed the largest gain, although their scores remained in the pathological range. It is concluded that the latter participants suffer from more serious psychological problems than is desirable in view of the aims of the course. Adaptation of the aims and contents of the course should be considered, so that individual pathology can be more adequately addressed.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Program Evaluation
  • Single Person / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires