Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 52, Issue 10, pp 1237–1246 | Cite as

The role of socio-economic status and neighborhood social capital on loneliness among older adults: evidence from the Sant Boi Aging Study

  • Joan Domènech-AbellaEmail author
  • Jordi Mundó
  • Elvira Lara
  • Maria Victoria Moneta
  • Josep Maria Haro
  • Beatriz Olaya
Original Paper



The aim of the present study is to analyze the role of age in the association between socio-economic status (SES) and loneliness as well as the role of neighborhood social capital (NSC) in the association between individual social capital and loneliness.


Data include a representative population-based sample from Sant Boi de Llobregat (a suburb of Barcelona) of 1124 adults aged 50 and over. Logistic regression models were used to analyze the survey data. Interactions between SES and age, and NSC and individual social capital were explored.


Among the poorest older adults, older individuals showed a lower likelihood of loneliness (OR 0.09, 95% CI 0.02, 0.30, p < 0.05) compared with the youngest cohort after adjusting for covariates, while among the richest individuals there were no significant differences among age cohorts. Individuals living in an area with high NSC and high individual social capital showed a lower likelihood of loneliness (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.17, 0.73, p < 0.05) compared with those with low individual social capital after adjusting for covariates. The effect of individual social capital was not significant among individuals living in an area with low NSC.


Interventions focusing on low SES middle-aged (50–59 years old) individuals and those aiming to increase NSC could be effective strategies to reduce the prevalence of loneliness in older people.


Loneliness Neighborhood social capital Socio-economic status 



Sant Boi Aging Study was financed by Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, Ajuntament de Sant Boi de Llobregat and Clúster de Salut Mental de Catalunya. We thank Stephen Kelly for help in English language editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Domènech-Abella
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Jordi Mundó
    • 3
  • Elvira Lara
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Maria Victoria Moneta
    • 1
    • 2
  • Josep Maria Haro
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Beatriz Olaya
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Research, Innovation and Teaching Unit, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de DéuUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Instituto de Salud Carlos IIICentro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM)MadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Faculty of MedicineUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Princesa (IP)MadridSpain

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