Relationships between Interpersonal Goals and Loneliness in Older Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study.

TitleRelationships between Interpersonal Goals and Loneliness in Older Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsEzeokonkwo, FC, Sekula, KL, Stokes, JE, Theeke, LA, Zoucha, R, Troutman-Jordan, M, Sharma, D
JournalInt J Environ Res Public Health
ISSN Number1660-4601
KeywordsAged, Cross-Sectional Studies, Ecosystem, Female, Goals, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Loneliness

Loneliness is linked to many physiological and psychological issues and disproportionately affects older adults. Interpersonal goals (compassion and self-image) are essential to interpersonal relationships; however, how they relate to loneliness in older adults is unknown. We investigated the impact of interpersonal goals on loneliness using the Ecosystem-Egosystem Theory of Social Motivation. This study, adopting a descriptive cross-sectional correlational design, used data from the 2016 Health and Retirement Study. Participants ( = 3212) included people aged >65 years (mean age: 75; female: 60.1%). We performed exploratory factor analysis with principal axis factoring and varimax rotation to examine the suitability of compassionate and self-image goals as separate factors. The complex samples general linear model was used to assess the relationship between loneliness and interpersonal goals. Interpersonal goals were significantly negatively associated with loneliness. Respondents with higher compassion and self-image goals reported lower loneliness levels. Our results contribute to understanding how interpersonal goals relate to loneliness in older adults. These initial findings warrant further investigation.

Citation Key13109
PubMed ID36767280
PubMed Central IDPMC9914752
Grant ListU01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States