Loneliness, optimism, and well-being among married, divorced, and widowed individuals

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The study explored feelings of loneliness and dispositional optimism and their unique contribution to well-being. The sample included 196 women and men (M age = 45.94 years; 54% were women; 34% were married, 34% were divorced, and 32% were widowed) who completed inventories assessing feelings of loneliness, dispositional optimism, and well-being measured by life satisfaction and negative affect. Widows and widowers scored higher than married respondents on loneliness and negative affect and lower on life satisfaction and optimism. Divorced persons scored lower on life satisfaction than married respondents but higher than widows and widowers on optimism. Loneliness was negatively correlated with optimism. Multiple regression analyses using demographics, family status, loneliness, and optimism as independent variables showed that loneliness contributed negatively to well-being, while optimism contributed positively to well-being. A Structural Equation Modeling analysis and mediation tests showed that both loneliness and optimism mediated the effects of widowhood on well-being. The findings are in support of Conservation of Resources (COR) theory (S. E. Hobfoll, 1989, 2001).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-36
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • divorce
  • loneliness
  • optimism
  • well-being
  • widowhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Psychology
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)

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