Loneliness and objective social isolation are differentially associated with anomalous perceptions in community-dwelling older adults

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Anomalous perceptions are characterised by the subjective experience of a range of distorted and/or hallucinatory percepts. Whilst considerable attention has been paid to the neurocognitive processes contributing to anomalous perceptions amongst older adults, less is known about the social factors (e.g. social isolation, loneliness). Furthermore, it is unknown whether loneliness and social isolation are associated with different types of anomalous perceptions, including anomalous body-centred self-experiences and anomalous external experiences.

METHODS: This study examined the cross-sectional relationships between loneliness, objective social isolation, and anomalous perceptions in a sample of community-dwelling older adults ( N = 242, M age = 71.87 ± 7.73, range = 52-91, 67.8% female) using structural equation modelling.

RESULTS: Higher levels of loneliness were associated with more anomalous body-centred self-experiences and anomalous external experiences. Those reporting more loneliness also reported higher levels of anxiety and depression; however, the relationship between loneliness and anomalous perceptions was not mediated by these factors. Social disconnection from a religious group was associated with more anomalous external experiences and being married/living with a partner was associated with more anomalous body-centred self-experiences.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that loneliness and social isolation have differential associations with anomalous perceptions in older adults and provide additional evidence that attending to loneliness in older adults is important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-146
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Volume28
Issue number2
Early online date6 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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