Aging & Mental Health
Loneliness among men and women – a five-year follow-up study
Sammendrag på engelsk (abstract):
Objectives: The purpose of the study was to explore whether and how loneliness in adults was influenced by life events and experiences in early and later stages in life. Applying a life-course and gender perspective, the current study investigates statuses and transitions that influence self-reported loneliness among men and women in middle age (age 40–59) and when older (age 60–80).
Method: The panel data are from two waves of the Norwegian study of the life course, ageing and generations. Our sample consists of 3750 people aged 40–80 at baseline who were surveyed in 2002–2003 (T1) and 2007–2008 (T2). Multivariate analyses were used to investigate personal characteristics and life events associated with loneliness at baseline and life events predicting the incidence of loneliness during the five-year period.
Results: Adverse childhood events were associated with loneliness by both men and women. In the older group, men's loneliness was related to having been bullied, and conflicts between parents. Women's loneliness was related to economic problems in their childhood family. Regarding the incidence of loneliness – becoming lonely between T1 and T2 – among those aged 40–59, divorce predicted women becoming lonely, but not men. Among those aged 60–80, the partner's death was a stronger predictor of the incidence of loneliness among men than among women.
Conclusion: The results demonstrate that loneliness is influenced by events and experiences from early childhood to later life, and that some events and experiences influence loneliness in men and women differently.