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Article

Are Loneliness and Social Isolation Associated with Quality of Life in Older Adults? Insights from Northern and Southern Europe

1
Aging Research Center, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet-Stockholm University, 17165 Stockholm, Sweden
2
National School of Public Health, Carlos III Institute of Health, 28029 Madrid, Spain
3
Health Services Research on Chronic Patients Network (REDISSEC), Carlos III Institute of Health, 28029 Madrid, Spain
4
Center for Health Technology and Services Research (CINTESIS), Department of Education and Psychology, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
5
Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography (IEGD), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), 28037 Madrid, Spain
6
National Centre of Epidemiology, Carlos III Institute of Health, 28029 Madrid, Spain
7
The Network Center for Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIBERNED), 28031 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228637
Received: 15 October 2020 / Revised: 12 November 2020 / Accepted: 18 November 2020 / Published: 20 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Active/Healthy Ageing and Quality of Life)
Purpose: Loneliness and social isolation have detrimental effects on health in old age; however, the prospective associations with quality of life (QoL) remain unclear. Furthermore, despite the existence of a European north-south gradient in the distribution of loneliness and social isolation, little is known whether the associations are context-specific. We investigated the relationships between loneliness, social isolation and QoL of older adults residing in the North (Sweden) and South (Spain) of Europe. Methods: Study sample consisted of 2995 Swedish and 4154 Spanish older adults who participated in waves six and seven of the Study on Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Loneliness and social isolation were measured at the baseline, and QoL was measured at the baseline and follow-up using CASP-12. Prospective associations were assessed via multivariate linear regression. Results: In Sweden, subjects with higher vs. lower loneliness had 1.01 (95% CI: −1.55, −0.40) units lower QoL, while every standard deviation increase in social isolation was associated with a 0.27 (95% CI: −0.42, −0.09)-unit decrease in QoL. In Spain, every standard deviation increase in social isolation was associated with a 0.66 (95% CI: −1.11, −0.22)-unit decrease in QoL. The association was stronger in subjects aged ≤65 years old and those with no chronic diseases. The association with loneliness was not statistically significant in Spain. Conclusion: Loneliness and social isolation are prospectively associated with decreased QoL among older adults, yet the associations are contextually bound. Future interventions should target both exposures, among others, in order to increase QoL in this group. View Full-Text
Keywords: aging; loneliness; social isolation; quality of life; SHARE; prospective studies aging; loneliness; social isolation; quality of life; SHARE; prospective studies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Beridze, G.; Ayala, A.; Ribeiro, O.; Fernández-Mayoralas, G.; Rodríguez-Blázquez, C.; Rodríguez-Rodríguez, V.; Rojo-Pérez, F.; Forjaz, M.J.; Calderón-Larrañaga, A. Are Loneliness and Social Isolation Associated with Quality of Life in Older Adults? Insights from Northern and Southern Europe. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8637. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228637

AMA Style

Beridze G, Ayala A, Ribeiro O, Fernández-Mayoralas G, Rodríguez-Blázquez C, Rodríguez-Rodríguez V, Rojo-Pérez F, Forjaz MJ, Calderón-Larrañaga A. Are Loneliness and Social Isolation Associated with Quality of Life in Older Adults? Insights from Northern and Southern Europe. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(22):8637. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228637

Chicago/Turabian Style

Beridze, Giorgi, Alba Ayala, Oscar Ribeiro, Gloria Fernández-Mayoralas, Carmen Rodríguez-Blázquez, Vicente Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Fermina Rojo-Pérez, Maria J. Forjaz, and Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga. 2020. "Are Loneliness and Social Isolation Associated with Quality of Life in Older Adults? Insights from Northern and Southern Europe" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 22: 8637. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228637

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