Addressing loneliness in later life

Simone Pettigrew, Michele Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Social and solitary pastimes with the potential to ameliorate the experience of loneliness among older individuals were investigated for the purpose of informing future interventions designed to reduce the negative consequences of social isolation.Method: Nineteen individual interviews with Australians aged 65 years and older. Results: Several pastimes were described by interviewees as instrumental in determining whether the increasing social isolation they experience in older age results in feelings of emotional isolation and thus of loneliness.Conclusion: The specific behaviours that were found to ameliorate loneliness included utilizing friends and family as an emotional resource, engaging in eating and drinking rituals as a means of maintaining social contacts, and spending time constructively by reading and gardening. Specific recommendations are provided for interventions designed to prevent and treat loneliness among older people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-309
JournalAging & mental health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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