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      High prevalence and adverse health effects of loneliness in community-dwelling adults across the lifespan: role of wisdom as a protective factor

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          ABSTRACT

          Objectives:

          This study of loneliness across adult lifespan examined its associations with sociodemographics, mental health (positive and negative psychological states and traits), subjective cognitive complaints, and physical functioning.

          Design:

          Analysis of cross-sectional data

          Participants:

          340 community-dwelling adults in San Diego, California, mean age 62 (SD = 18) years, range 27–101 years, who participated in three community-based studies.

          Measurements:

          Loneliness measures included UCLA Loneliness Scale Version 3 (UCLA-3), 4-item Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Social Isolation Scale, and a single-item measure from the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CESD) scale. Other measures included the San Diego Wisdom Scale (SD-WISE) and Medical Outcomes Survey- Short form 36.

          Results:

          Seventy-six percent of subjects had moderate-high levels of loneliness on UCLA-3, using standardized cut-points. Loneliness was correlated with worse mental health and inversely with positive psychological states/traits. Even moderate severity of loneliness was associated with worse mental and physical functioning. Loneliness severity and age had a complex relationship, with increased loneliness in the late-20s, mid-50s, and late-80s. There were no sex differences in loneliness prevalence, severity, and age relationships. The best-fit multiple regression model accounted for 45% of the variance in UCLA-3 scores, and three factors emerged with small-medium effect sizes: wisdom, living alone and mental well-being.

          Conclusions:

          The alarmingly high prevalence of loneliness and its association with worse health-related measures underscore major challenges for society. The non-linear age-loneliness severity relationship deserves further study. The strong negative association of wisdom with loneliness highlights the potentially critical role of wisdom as a target for psychosocial/behavioral interventions to reduce loneliness. Building a wiser society may help us develop a more connected, less lonely, and happier society.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Development of a new resilience scale: the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC).

          Resilience may be viewed as a measure of stress coping ability and, as such, could be an important target of treatment in anxiety, depression, and stress reactions. We describe a new rating scale to assess resilience. The Connor-Davidson Resilience scale (CD-RISC) comprises of 25 items, each rated on a 5-point scale (0-4), with higher scores reflecting greater resilience. The scale was administered to subjects in the following groups: community sample, primary care outpatients, general psychiatric outpatients, clinical trial of generalized anxiety disorder, and two clinical trials of PTSD. The reliability, validity, and factor analytic structure of the scale were evaluated, and reference scores for study samples were calculated. Sensitivity to treatment effects was examined in subjects from the PTSD clinical trials. The scale demonstrated good psychometric properties and factor analysis yielded five factors. A repeated measures ANOVA showed that an increase in CD-RISC score was associated with greater improvement during treatment. Improvement in CD-RISC score was noted in proportion to overall clinical global improvement, with greatest increase noted in subjects with the highest global improvement and deterioration in CD-RISC score in those with minimal or no global improvement. The CD-RISC has sound psychometric properties and distinguishes between those with greater and lesser resilience. The scale demonstrates that resilience is modifiable and can improve with treatment, with greater improvement corresponding to higher levels of global improvement. Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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            Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): a reevaluation of the Life Orientation Test.

            Research on dispositional optimism as assessed by the Life Orientation Test (Scheier & Carver, 1985) has been challenged on the grounds that effects attributed to optimism are indistinguishable from those of unmeasured third variables, most notably, neuroticism. Data from 4,309 subjects show that associations between optimism and both depression and aspects of coping remain significant even when the effects of neuroticism, as well as the effects of trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem, are statistically controlled. Thus, the Life Orientation Test does appear to possess adequate predictive and discriminant validity. Examination of the scale on somewhat different grounds, however, does suggest that future applications can benefit from its revision. Thus, we also describe a minor modification to the Life Orientation Test, along with data bearing on the revised scale's psychometric properties.
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              • Record: found
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              Loneliness and Health: Potential Mechanisms

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                International Psychogeriatrics
                Int. Psychogeriatr.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                1041-6102
                1741-203X
                December 18 2018
                : 1-16
                Article
                10.1017/S1041610218002120
                6581650
                30560747
                © 2018

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