The Feeling of Loneliness Among Older Europeans

By: Malorie Peyrache   Sabrina Aouici  

Persons aged 75 and over are almost twice as likely to feel lonely compared to persons aged 50-74 (SHARE data, wave 6, 2015). In the public eye, phenomena such as the heat wave of 2003 in France have increased the visibility of the vulnerability of numerous elders to loneliness, isolation, and exclusion. Nevertheless, isolation or exclusion can be a consequence arising from feelings of loneliness, and leading to inequalities. In order to explore different forms of solitude in Europe, we examine the feeling of loneliness in relation to social and material deprivation, while taking into account country differences. Our work draws on persons aged 50 and over in Wave 6 of SHARE (Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe). It is based on an analysis of the indicators of social deprivation and material deprivation as expressed by the respondents together with their living conditions. We develop the concept of loneliness by paying particular attention to the borders, sometimes tenuous, which it shares with the concepts of isolation and exclusion. The feeling of loneliness is analysed using logistic regressions, in various European countries, according to the age, gender, living conditions (marital status, sociability, resources and financial difficulties) and the possible ruptures (in family, social, or professional domains). Finally, we examine country differences and how they relate to different forms of solitude and social and material deprivation.

Loneliness, Quality of life, Social networks, Deprivation
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Malorie Peyrache

Researcher, URV - DSPR, CNAV, France

Sabrina Aouici

Researcher, CNAV, France