Loneliness and mortality in the Zutphen cohort of elderly men

Loneliness is prevalent in the elderly and included emotional and social loneliness. Information about loneliness was collected four times between 1985 and 2000. At baseline, 39% of elderly men were “moderate lonely” and 3% “severely lonely”. Emotional but not social loneliness, increased over 15 years. All-cause mortality data were collected from 1985 to 2010. All-cause mortality did not differ between moderate and severely lonely participants. Loneliness was common due to an increase of emotional loneliness over time and was not associated with all-cause mortality.

Description of the loneliness questionnaire

Loneliness, defined as the discrepancy between one’s desired and actual relationships, was classified into emotional and social loneliness. Zutphen elderly men filled out a self-administered validated 11-item loneliness questionnaire in 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000.

About the Zutphen Elderly Study

The Zutphen Elderly Study is an extension of the original Zutphen Study with a sample of the same age where detailed information on the diet of all the participants was collected four times between 1985 and 2000.  Read more about the Zutphen (Elderly) Study.

More about healthy aging

From 1984 onwards, additional studies started to examine indicators of healthy ageing in the elderly populations of in the SCS and related studies.

Lifestyle, diet and optimism

A healthy diet, especially eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole grain bread was related to a higher level of optimism.

Disability and depressive symptoms

In elderly men from Finland, Italy and the Nethelands in the FINE Study, self-reported information on disability and depressive symptoms was collected in 1990 and 1995.