Loneliness and depressive symptomatology in elderly people

Letícia Raquel Faísca, Rosa Marina Afonso, Henrique Pereira, Maria Assunção Vaz Patto


Loneliness and depression are related to the psychological well-being in old age. However, this relationship is not clear because of the complexity of these dimensions, namely the solitude. The objective of this study is to examine these two dimensions and discuss the relationship in elderly people. This study included 213 people aged 65 and 96 years old, and the average age was 75 years old (DP=6.74). Data were collected using a sociodemographic questionnaire, the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) (Pocinho, Farate, Dias, Lee, & Yesavage, 2009) and through direct questions to assess loneliness (Paúl, Fonseca, Ribeiro, & Teles, 2006). The sample comprised 213 people aged 65-96 years old. The findings indicate that 26.76% (57) of the individuals had depressive symptoms. Differences were statistically significant between men and women and between marital states, education levels and living conditions of the individuals. Regarding the experience of loneliness, the results indicate that 12.7% (27) of the individuals had solitude. We found statistically significant associations between loneliness and gender, marital status and living conditions. The results also revealed a statistically significant association between loneliness and depressive symptoms [χ2(2)=35.315; p=0.000] and in this sample 35.1% (20) of the subjects present loneliness and depressive symptoms. This study warns of the importance of perceiving the relationship between loneliness and depression, in the design of evaluations and interventions for old age, to optimize of the social network settings of the person for an improvement in their health and quality of life.


Aging, Depression in old age, Loneliness in old age, Mental health.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14417/ap.1549


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