Long-term conditions in older people are linked with loneliness, but a sense of coherence buffers the adverse effects on quality of life: A cross-sectional study

Hugo C van Woerden, Neil J Angus, Vasiliki Kiparoglou, Iain Maitland Atherton, Janni Leung

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Abstract

Background: The impact of disability, long-term conditions, rurality, living alone, and being a carer on health has some evidence base, but the extent to which a strong sense of coherence (SoC), a factor hypothesised to promote wellbeing, may moderate these associations is unknown. A model of physical, environmental and social factors on quality of life was tested, with particular emphasis on whether a strong SoC buffered (mitigated) these determinants of quality of life. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional postal survey was undertaken of a random sample of 1471 respondents aged over 65 years, across a population of rural individuals. Physical, environmental, and psychological variables were assessed against quality of life using ANOVA and a generalised linear model including the interaction effects of SoC. Results: ANOVA demonstrated that age, gender, long-term conditions or disability (LTCD), living alone, >20 hours unpaid care for others per week, SoC, and loneliness, were associated with lower quality of life (p<0.01). There were strong correlations (p>0.01), between age and LTC-D, living alone, and poor SoC. Living alone was correlated with emotional and social loneliness; but those with higher SoC were less likely to experience loneliness. In an adjusted generalised linear model, significant associations with a lower quality of life were observed from: LTC-D, emotional loneliness and social loneliness (B= −0.44, −0.30, and −0.39, respectively, all p<0.001). The only interaction with SoC that was statistically significant (at p<0.05) was LTC-D. A stronger sense of coherence buffered the negative effects of long-term condition/disability on quality of life. Discussion: The physical, environmental and social factors examined, identified LTC-D and loneliness to be the strongest factors associated with poor quality of life. Conclusion: SoC somewhat buffered the adverse effect of LTC-D on quality of life, but did not do so for loneliness. Keywords: loneliness, social loneliness, disability, rurality, quality of life
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2467-2475
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • loneliness
  • social loneliness
  • disability
  • rurality
  • quality of life

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