Advertisement

Quality of Life Research

, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 1275–1280 | Cite as

Loneliness and health-related quality of life for the empty nest elderly in the rural area of a mountainous county in China

  • Li-Juan Liu
  • Qiang Guo
Article

Abstract

Objective

To estimate whether loneliness was associated with quality of life and examined the influence of socio-economic factors in the empty nest elderly.

Methods

The 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and UCLA Loneliness Scale (UCLA-LS) were used to assess the quality of life and loneliness for 275 empty nest and 315 not empty nest rural elders in a county, China. T tests, Pearson’s correlations and linear regression analysis were used to examine the difference in SF-36 and UCLA-LS scores, correlations of the two scores between the two groups, and socio-economic determinants of loneliness among the empty nest elders.

Results

Empty nest group, in comparison with not empty nest group, had higher level of loneliness (95% confidence interval [CI] = −3.361 to −.335), lower physical (95% CI = .228 to 6.044) and mental (95% CI = .866 to 6.380) scores. Loneliness was negatively correlated with all the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey scales in both groups. Social supports and income were negatively associated with loneliness, whereas education level and being single were positively associated with loneliness for the empty nest group.

Conclusions

Reducing the level of loneliness may be helpful to improve the quality of life for the empty nest elders.

Keywords

Aged loneliness Quality of life Social support 

References

  1. 1.
    Paul, C., Ayis, S., & Ebrahim, S. (2006). Psychological distress, loneliness and disability in old age. Psychology Health and Medicine, 11(2), 221–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Routasalo, P. E., Savikko, N., Tilvis, R. S., Strandberg, T. E., & Pitkala, K. H. (2006). Social contacts and their relationship to loneliness among aged people—a population-based study. Gerontology, 52(3), 181–187.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    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(6), 494–501.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jylha, M. (2004). Old age and loneliness: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses in the Tampere Longitudinal Study on Aging. Canadian Journal of Aging, 23(2), 157–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chalise, H. N., 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 Geriatrics, 44(3), 299–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tomaka, J., Thompson, S., & Palacios, R. (2006). The relation of social isolation, loneliness, and social support to disease outcomes among the elderly. Journal of Aging Health, 18(3), 359–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cacioppo, J. T., Hughes, M. E., Waite, L. J., Hawkley, L. C., & Thisted, R. A. (2006). Loneliness as a specific risk factor for depressive symptoms: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Psychology and Aging, 21(1), 140–151.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Long, M. V., & Martin, P. (2000). Personality, relationship closeness, and loneliness of oldest old adults and their children. The Journal of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 55(5), 311–319.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fahrenberg, B. (1986). Coping with the empty nest situation as a developmental task for the aging female—an analysis of the literature. Zeitschrift für Gerontologie, 19(5), 323–335.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Pillay, A. L. (1988). Midlife depression and the “empty nest” syndrome in Indian women. Psychologiacl Reports, 63(2), 591–594. .Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Liu, L. J., Sun, X., Zhang, C. L., & Guo, Q. (2007). Health care utilization among empty nest old persons in the rural area of a mountainous county in China. Public Health Reports, 122(3), 407–413.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fogelholm, M., Valve, R., Absetz, P., Heinonen, H., Uutela, A., Patja, K., et al. (2006). Rural–urban differences in health and health behaviour: a baseline description of a community health-promotion programme for the elderly. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 34(6), 632–640.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Campbell, V. A., Crews, J. E., Moriarty, D. G., Zack, M. M., & Blackman, D. K. (1999). Surveillance for sensory impairment, activity limitation, and health-related quality of life among older adults—United States, 1993–1997. MMWR CDC Surveillance Summaries, 48(8), 131–156.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Denes, Z. (1980). Loneliness in old age. ZFA, 35(6), 475–480.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Doci, I., Hosak, L., & Kovarova, M. (2003). Loneliness in the elderly as a social and medical problem. Cas Lek Cesk, 142(8), 505–507.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sevil, U., Ertem, G., Kavlak, O., & Coban, A. (2006). The loneliness level of patients with gynecological cancer. International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, 16 Suppl 1, 472–477.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ware J. E. (1997). SF-36 health survey. manual and interpretation guide. The Health Institute, New England Medical Centre (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Nimrod Press.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Russell, D., Peplau, L. A., & Cutrona, C. E. (1980). The revised UCLA loneliness scale: concurrent and discriminant validity evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(3), 472–480.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Xiao, S. Y. (1993). The social support rate scale. Chinese Journal of Psychology, 7(Suppl), 42–46.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    SPSS, Inc. (1999). SPSS: Version 10.0 for Windows. Chicago: SPSS, Inc.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Mullins, L. C., Elston, C. H., & Gutkowski, S. M. (1996). Social determinants of loneliness among older Americans. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 122(4), 453–473.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Chen, H. C., Chou, F. H., Chen, M. C., Su, S. F., Wang, S. Y., Feng, W. W., et al. (2006). A survey of quality of life and depression for police officers in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Quality of Life Research, 15(5), 925–932.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Training DepartmentThe Second Military Medical UniversityShanghaiP.R. China

Personalised recommendations