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      Associations between loneliness, depressive symptoms and perceived togetherness in older people.

      Aging & Mental Health

      Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression, diagnosis, epidemiology, psychology, Female, Finland, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Object Attachment, Personality Inventory, Risk Factors, Social Environment, Social Identification, Social Perception, Social Support, Statistics as Topic

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          This study explores the associations of loneliness with depressive symptoms in a five-year follow-up and describes how the six dimensions of perceived togetherness explain loneliness and depressive symptoms at baseline. The data were collected on 207 residents of Jyväskylä, central Finland, who at baseline in 1990 were aged 80; and 133 residents who at follow-up in 1995 were aged 85. Loneliness was assessed using a questionnaire item with four preset response options, perceived togetherness using the Social Provisions Scale, and depressive symptoms using the CES-D scale. A recursive structural equation model showed that in women but not in men, depressive symptoms predicted more experiences of loneliness. Those who were lonely were more depressed (CES-D score 16 or over) and experienced less togetherness than those who were not. Loneliness was explained by reliable alliance, social integration and attachment; and depressive symptoms were explained by guidance, reassurance of worth, reliable alliance and attachment. A common feature in both loneliness and depressive symptoms was a lower level of perceived emotional togetherness in social interaction.

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