Determinants of Trends in Loneliness Among Dutch Older People Over the Period 2005-2010

Honigh-de Vlaming, R.; Haveman-Nies, A.; Bos-Oude Groeniger, I.; Groot, C.P.G.M. de; Veer, P. van 't


Objective: This study aims to investigate the influence of socio-demographic, health, and municipal characteristics on trends in loneliness among community-dwelling elderly people. Method: Data were gathered from 4,868 and 4,773 non-institutionalized elderly people aged 65 years and above in a health survey in 2005 and 2010, respectively. Crude and adjusted multilevel models were analyzed to study the independent associations of study year and socio-demographic, health, and municipal characteristics with loneliness. Results: Overall and across municipalities, loneliness estimates did not significantly differ between 2005 and 2010. However, among the sub-group with activity limitations, loneliness was higher in 2010 compared with 2005. Discussion: This study indicates a constant trend in loneliness in the total population and across sub-groups with the exception of participants with one or more activity limitations, where loneliness increased. Individual socio-demographic and health characteristics were explanatory factors for variation in loneliness over time, whereas municipal characteristics were not.