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The transition to living alone and psychological distress in later life

The transition to living alone and psychological distress in later life
The transition to living alone and psychological distress in later life
Background: living alone in later life has been linked to psychological distress but less is known about the role of the transition into living alone and the role of social and material resources.

Methods: a total of 21,535 person-years of data from 4,587 participants of the British Household Panel Survey aged 65+ are analysed. Participants provide a maximum 6 years' data (t0?t5), with trajectories of living arrangements classified as: consistently partnered/ with children/alone; transition from partnered to alone/with children to alone. General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)-12 caseness (score >3) is investigated using multi-level logistic regression, controlling for sex, age, activities of daily living, social and material resources.

Results: after a transition from partnered at t0 to alone at t1, the odds for GHQ-12 caseness increased substantially, but by t3 returned to baseline levels. The odds for caseness at t0 were highest for those changing from living with a child at t0 to living alone at t1 but declined following the transition to living alone. None of the covariates explained these associations. Living consistently alone did confer increased odds for caseness.

Conclusions: living alone in later life is not in itself a strong risk factor for psychological distress. The effects of transitions to living alone are dependent on the preceding living arrangement and are independent of social and material resources. This advocates a longitudinal approach, allowing identification of respondents' location along trajectories of living arrangements.
psychological stress, life change events, widowhood, residence characteristics, social support, older people
0002-0729
366-372
Stone, Juliet
e90cfda9-64e9-4619-8a16-911312a0a965
Evandrou, Maria
cd2210ea-9625-44d7-b0f4-fc0721a25d28
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519
Stone, Juliet
e90cfda9-64e9-4619-8a16-911312a0a965
Evandrou, Maria
cd2210ea-9625-44d7-b0f4-fc0721a25d28
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519

Stone, Juliet, Evandrou, Maria and Falkingham, Jane (2013) The transition to living alone and psychological distress in later life. Age and Ageing, 42 (3), 366-372. (doi:10.1093/ageing/aft006).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: living alone in later life has been linked to psychological distress but less is known about the role of the transition into living alone and the role of social and material resources.

Methods: a total of 21,535 person-years of data from 4,587 participants of the British Household Panel Survey aged 65+ are analysed. Participants provide a maximum 6 years' data (t0?t5), with trajectories of living arrangements classified as: consistently partnered/ with children/alone; transition from partnered to alone/with children to alone. General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)-12 caseness (score >3) is investigated using multi-level logistic regression, controlling for sex, age, activities of daily living, social and material resources.

Results: after a transition from partnered at t0 to alone at t1, the odds for GHQ-12 caseness increased substantially, but by t3 returned to baseline levels. The odds for caseness at t0 were highest for those changing from living with a child at t0 to living alone at t1 but declined following the transition to living alone. None of the covariates explained these associations. Living consistently alone did confer increased odds for caseness.

Conclusions: living alone in later life is not in itself a strong risk factor for psychological distress. The effects of transitions to living alone are dependent on the preceding living arrangement and are independent of social and material resources. This advocates a longitudinal approach, allowing identification of respondents' location along trajectories of living arrangements.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 6 February 2013
Keywords: psychological stress, life change events, widowhood, residence characteristics, social support, older people
Organisations: Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 349717
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/349717
ISSN: 0002-0729
PURE UUID: 0264e1d4-3655-4cce-9dc5-93310e363543
ORCID for Jane Falkingham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7135-5875

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Mar 2013 11:48
Last modified: 17 Jul 2019 00:58

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