|The Role of Solitary Activity in Moderating the Association between Social Isolation and Perceived Loneliness among U.S. Older Adults.
|Year of Publication
|Li, K, Tang, F
|Journal of Gerontological Social Work
|Isolation, Loneliness, Social networks
Social isolation has been recognized as a critical public health problem. As the most vulnerable population, older adults are disproportionately affected by social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purposes of this study were to examine the association between social isolation and loneliness among U.S. older adults and to explore the moderating effect of solitary activity by using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Social isolation was measured by six indicators, including marital status, living arrangement, social participation in any clubs or social organizations, and the frequency of social contact with children, family members, and friends. Loneliness was assessed by eleven questions derived from the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Solitary activity included 11 types of activities that respondents could perform alone with limited or no social interaction. Results from the multivariate regression analyses indicated that unmarried status and lower frequency of social contact were associated with more perceived loneliness. Solitary activity significantly moderated the negative effects of the low frequency of social contact with family members on loneliness. The findings implicate that social work programs and interventions can aim to expand social networks and provide more opportunities for solitary activities, particularly for isolated older adults.