Associations of loneliness in older married men and women

Liat Ayalon, Sharon Shiovitz-Ezra, Yuval Palgi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We evaluated the associations between loneliness and subjective appraisals of marital relationship as well as reciprocal associations of loneliness in married men and women. The Health and Retirement Study is a national survey of older adults over the age of 50, residing in the US. This study is based on a paper and pencil questionnaire administered in the year 2006. Overall, 2723 couples completed this questionnaire. Loneliness was evaluated using the three-item version of the Revised University of California Los Angeles Loneliness Scale. A non-recursive path analysis was conducted. The model suggested that subjective appraisals of the relationship with spouse play a major role in one's sense of loneliness. In addition, loneliness in men and women shares reciprocal associations. The model explained 24% and 29% of the variability in loneliness reported by married men and women, respectively. Results indicate that capitalizing and enhancing one's social life might also be beneficial for his or her partner. Any intervention to alleviate loneliness in married couples has to take into consideration their perceived marital relationship as well as the reciprocal associations of loneliness in married men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a nationally representative sample of individuals 50 years and older and their spouse of any age, residing in the US ( The HRS is sponsored by the National Institute of Aging and is conducted by the University of Michigan. The study is reviewed and approved by the University of Michigan’s Health Sciences IRB. Participants take part in a biennial interview that covers a range of topics including income, wealth, work, retirement, health, health care utilization, etc.


  • dyads
  • epidemiology
  • gender
  • loneliness
  • marriage
  • social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Psychiatric Mental Health


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