Emotional and Social Loneliness in Later Life: Associations with Positive Versus Negative Social Exchanges
University of California, Irvine
Karen S. Rook
affiliation not provided to SSRN
July 31, 2012
The adverse effects of loneliness on health and well-being accelerate with age, making it important to understand the relationship experiences that underlie loneliness in later life. The current study distinguished between emotional and social loneliness and compared their associations with parallel categories of positive and negative social exchanges in a representative sample of older adults. Given the high rates of marital loss in later life, analyses included comparisons of currently and formerly married individuals. The results revealed that emotional support and its negative counterpart (insensitive behavior) are particularly consequential for emotional loneliness among married participants. Companionship was associated with emotional and social loneliness among married and formerly married participants, whereas its negative counterpart (rejection) appeared to be particularly consequential for social loneliness among formerly married participants. The results underscore the value of a differentiated approach to older adults’ loneliness and social exchanges.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: loneliness, social support, interpersonal relationships, well being, marital status, agingworking papers series
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