The association between loneliness and Health Related Quality of Life (HR-QoL) among community-dwelling older citizens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Siok Swan Tan
  • Irene Fierloos
  • Xuxi Zhang
  • Elin Koppelaar
  • Tamara Alhambra-Borras
  • Tasos Rentoumis
  • Tomislav Rukavina
  • Rob van Staveren
  • Jordi Garces
  • Carmen Frances
  • Hein Raat

Abstract

Background: This study aimed to assess the association between loneliness and Health-Related Quality of Life (HR-QoL) among community-dwelling older citizens in five European countries. We characterize loneliness broadly from an emotional and social perspective. Methods: This cross-sectional study measured loneliness with the 6-item De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale and HR-QoL with the 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey. The association between loneliness and HR-QoL was examined using multivariable linear regression models. Results: Data of 2169 citizens of at least 70 years of age and living independently (mean age = 79.6 ± 5.6; 61% females) were analyzed. Among the participants, 1007 (46%) were lonely; 627 (29%) were emotionally and 575 (27%) socially lonely. Participants who were lonely experienced a lower HR-QoL than participants who were not lonely (p ≤ 0.001). Emotional loneliness [std-β: −1.39; 95%-CI: −1.88 to −0.91] and social loneliness [−0.95; −1.44 to −0.45] were both associated with a lower physical HR-QoL. Emotional loneliness [−3.73; −4.16 to −3.31] and social loneliness [−1.84; −2.27 to −1.41] were also both associated with a lower mental HR-QoL. Conclusions: We found a negative association between loneliness and HR-QoL, especially between emotional loneliness and mental HR-QoL. This finding indicates that older citizens who miss an intimate or intense emotional relationship and interventions targeting mental HR-QoL deserve more attention in policy and practice than in the past.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2020