Loneliness and Ethnic Minority Elders in Great Britain: An Exploratory Study
- 1.7k Downloads
Loneliness, which describes the deficit between an individuals’ expectation of the quality and/or quantity of social relationships and the actuality, is associated with poor quality of life, negative health outcomes and, in some cases, increased use of statutory services. Within Great Britain few studies have examined the prevalence of loneliness amongst older people from ethnic minorities. In this exploratory study we consider the prevalence of loneliness amongst older people, those aged 65 years and over, from the key minority groups growing old in Britain (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, African Caribbean, and Chinese) and draw explicit comparisons for these groups with the prevalence of loneliness reported for the general population and with older people in their countries of origin. We use two data sources: the Ethnicity and Loneliness Survey, a study of 300 minority elders aged 65+ living in the community, provides our prevalence estimates and secondary analysis of a study of 169 South Asian elders (aged 65+) undertaken in Birmingham to validate our prevalence rates for the Indian and Bangladeshi populations. We identified very high rates of reported loneliness, ranging from 24% to 50% amongst for those elders originating from China, Africa, the Caribbean, Pakistan and Bangladesh whilst those from India approximated to the norms of 8–10% for Britain. These results suggest that it is feasible to research loneliness amongst minority communities in Britain; that the levels of loneliness are, with the exception of the Indian population, very much higher than for the general population but are broadly comparable with rates of loneliness reported for older people in their countries of origin. There is a rich research agenda to be developed in extending our understanding of loneliness in later life amongst the increasingly culturally and ethnically diverse older population of Great Britain.
KeywordsEthnicity Loneliness Migration Old age
- Abolfotouh, M. A., Daffallah, A. A., Khan, M. Y., Khattab, M. S., & Abdulmoneim, I. (2001). Psychosocial assessment of geriatric subjects in Abha City, Saudi Arabia. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 7, 481–491.Google Scholar
- Afshar, H., Franks, M., Maynard, M., & Wray, S. (2008). Women in later life: Exploring race and ethnicity. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- American Association of Retired People (AARP). (2010). Loneliness among older adults: a national survey of adults 45+. Washington, D. C.: AARP. (Available at: http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/general/loneliness_2010.pdf).
- Asian American Federation of New York. (2003). Asian American elders in New York City: a study of health, social needs, quality of life and quality of care. (Available at: http://www.aafny.org/research/dl/es/elder_report.pdf).
- Burholt, V., & Wenger, C. (2003). Families and migration: Older people from South Asia. Bangor: Centre for Social Policy Research and Development. University of Wales.Google Scholar
- Chalise, H., Saito, T., Takahashi, M., & Kai, I. (2007). Relationship specialization amongst sources and receivers of social support and its correlations with loneliness and subjective well-being: a cross sectional study of Nepalese older adults. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 44, 299–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Choudhry, U. K. (2001). Uprooting and resettlement experiences of South Asian immigrant women. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 23, 376–393.Google Scholar
- Farooq, M., Mateen, A., & Cheema, M. A. (2005). Elderly migrants adjustment problems in the urban areas. Journal of Agriculture & Social Sciences, 3, 283–284.Google Scholar
- Friis, R. (2000). Reported loneliness and anxiety of Hispanic elders: Involvement in formal and informal service use. Paper presented at the 128th Annual Meeting of APHA, Boston USA.Google Scholar
- Gardner, K. (2006). Narrative, age and migration: Life history and the life course amongst Bengali elders in London. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
- Ip, D., Wai Lui, C., & Hong Chui, W. (2007). Veiled entrapment: A study of social isolation of older Chinese migrants in Brisbane, Queensland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Jakobsson, U., & Hallberg, I. R. (2005). Loneliness, fear, and quality of life among elderly in Sweden: a gender perspective. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 17, 494–501.Google Scholar
- Livingstone, I. L., Neita, M., Rivere, L., & Livingstone, S. L. (2007). Gender, acculturative stress and Caribbean immigrants’ health in the United States of America: an exploratory study. The West Indian Medical Journal, 55, 213–222.Google Scholar
- Moghari, F.K. (2003). Elderly wellbeing; A comparative study between aged ethnic iranians and native swedes. Shiraz E-Medical Journal, 4.Google Scholar
- Phillipson, C., Ahmad, N., & Latimer, J. (2003). Women in transition. A study of the experiences of Bangladeshi women living in Tower Hamlets. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
- Ponizovsky, A., & Ritsner, N. S. (2004). Patterns of loneliness in an immigrant population. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 45, 408–414.Google Scholar
- Rawlins, J. M., Simeon, D. T., Ramdath, D. D., & Chadee, D. D. (2008). The elderly in Trinidad: health, social and economic status and issues of loneliness. The West Indian Medical Journal, 57, 589–595.Google Scholar
- Rokach, A., Orzeck, T., Lacković-Grgin, K., Penezić, Z., & Sorić, I. (2002). The effects of culture on coping with loneliness. Psychology and Education, 39, 1–11.Google Scholar
- Rokach, A., Orzeck, T., & Neto, F. (2004). Coping with loneliness in old age: a cross-cultural comparison. Current Psychology, 22, 123–137.Google Scholar
- Sahrawat, S. (2009). Loneliness in the twilight years. (Available at: http://asbbs.org/files/2009/PDF/S/Sahrawat.pdf).
- Scharf, T., & Wenger, G. C. (2000). Cross-national empirical research in gerontology: the OPERA experience. Education and Ageing, 15, 379–397.Google Scholar
- Shiovitz-Ezra, S., & Ayalon, L. (2009). Situational versus chronic loneliness as risk factors for all-cause mortality (pp. 1–8). Dec: International Psychogeriatrics.Google Scholar
- Uddin, M. T., Chowdhury, M. A. J., Islam, M. N., & Baher, G. U. (2010). Status of elderly people of Bangladesh: health perspective. Proceedings of the Pakistan Academy of Science, 47, 181–189.Google Scholar
- Victor, C., Bond, J., & Scambler, S. (2009). The social world of older people. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Waweru, L. M., Kabiru, E. W., Mbithi, J. N., & Some, E. S. (2003). Health status and health seeking behaviour of the elderly persons in Dagoretti division, Nairobi. East African Medical Journal, 80, 63–67.Google Scholar
- Wenger, G. C., & Burholt, V. (2004). Changes in levels of social isolation and loneliness among older people in rural Wales—A 20-year longitudinal study. Canadian Journal on Aging, 23, 477–493.Google Scholar