The fear of loneliness in old age explains the role of relationship dissatisfaction on depressive symptoms across ages and cultures: a longitudinal study
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings



摘要Ageing in loneliness is an undesirable phenomenon at both individual and societal level as this could lead to various harmful health consequences and burden to government. Individuals and societies strive to avoid loneliness in old age. This can be observed in tons of researches that worked on the preventive measures regarding loneliness in old age. The present study proposed the need of relatedness as human nature together with the social pressure may lead to the fear of being lonely in old age (FLOA). And we anticipated that FLOA could mediate the harmful effect of dissatisfying relationships regarding friends and family over depressive symptoms that was confirmed in many previous studies. This study tested the proposed mediation longitudinally over two years across three cultures (Hong Kong, USA and Germany) and ages. The relationship dissatisfaction regarding friendship and family at time 1 (T1) was expected to predict more depressive symptoms at time 2 (T2) through FLOA at T1. Relationship dissatisfaction, FLOA and depressive symptoms were assessed through self-report questionnaire at T1 and T2 (2 years after).

A total number of 184 (Age = 36 – 85 years old; 51.1% male), 156 (Age = 20 – 85 years old; 46.8% male) and 243 (Age = 19 – 85 years old; 28.8% male) individuals participated in this study at both T1 and T2 in Hong Kong, USA and Germany respectively. As expected, relationship dissatisfaction predicted more depressive symptoms over 2 years. More importantly, the mediation analyses revealed that FLOA partially mediated the effect of relationship dissatisfaction at T1 on depressive symptoms at T2 with the depressive symptoms at T1 was controlled as covariate in this model. Specifically, relationship dissatisfaction at T1 related to more FLOA and thus more depressive symptoms at T2. Moreover, there were no age and cultural differences found on any regression line in the mediation model, the mediation effect is not immune to cultures and ages. The results enhance the understandings on how the effect of relationship dissatisfaction is transferred to one’s psychological health. Rather than just focusing on the reduction of loneliness in old age to promote individuals’ wellbeing, the fear of being lonely in old age should be taken into consideration as well.
著者Tsang V. H. L., Fung H. H.
會議名稱25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development 2018
會議地點Gold Coast

上次更新時間 2019-28-11 於 12:04