European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 287–297 | Cite as

Migration and changes in loneliness over a 4-year period: the case of older former Soviet Union immigrants in Israel

  • Pnina DolbergEmail author
  • Sharon Shiovitz-Ezra
  • Liat Ayalon
Original Investigation


Both older adult and immigrant populations are at a high risk of loneliness. The current research compares older veteran Israelis to older immigrants who arrived in Israel from the former Soviet Union (FSU) after 1989. Early studies have found high levels of loneliness among older FSU immigrants; however, little is known regarding changes in loneliness among this group over time. The present study examines change in loneliness among older FSU immigrants and older veteran Jewish Israelis and its potential predictors. A prospective association between immigrant’s status and loneliness over time was examined using the second (2009/2010) and third (2013) waves of SHARE-Israel. The sample consisted of 208 FSU immigrants and 1080 veteran Jewish Israelis. Bivariate analyses indicated that in 2009/2010, older FSU immigrants were significantly lonelier than older veteran Jews, and more disadvantaged on all social and health variables measured. Yet, no significant differences emerged between the two groups with regard to loneliness in 2013. In the adjusted model, older immigrants presented positive change in loneliness (less loneliness over time) compared with veteran Jewish Israelis. Depressive symptoms explained a large part of the variance in change in loneliness. Potential explanations suggest that the long-term psychological adjustment process and the characteristics of the FSU immigrants in Israel as a large and relatively strong immigrant group have served as protective factors with regard to changes in loneliness over time.


Loneliness Older adults Immigrants Longitudinal research Israel 



This paper uses data from SHARE-Israel, waves 2 and 3. Wave 2 data collection in Israel was supported by National Institutes of Health of the United States (NIH), European Commission through the 7th framework program, Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Senior Citizens. Wave 3 data collection was funded by the NIH (R01-AG031729) and the Ministry of Senior Citizens. The data was collected by the Israeli Gerontological Data Center at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social WorkBar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.Spitzer Department of Social WorkBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeershebaIsrael
  3. 3.Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social WelfareThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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