Feeling lonely vs. being alone: loneliness and social support among recently bereaved persons

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Publication Type pre-print
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Sociology
Creator Utz, Rebecca L.
Other Author Swenson, Kristin L.; Caserta, Michael; Lund, Dale; DeVries, Brian
Title Feeling lonely vs. being alone: loneliness and social support among recently bereaved persons
Date 2014-01-01
Description Objectives: Despite increases in social support following widowhood, loneliness is among the most frequently reported challenges of bereavement. This analysis explores the dynamic relationship between social support and loneliness among recently bereaved older adults. Methods: Using longitudinal data from "Living After Loss" (n=328), latent growth curve modeling was used to estimate changes in loneliness and social support during the first year and a half of bereavement among older adults age 50+. Results: Both loneliness and social support declined over the first year and a half of bereavement. Greater social support was associated with lower levels of loneliness overall, but the receipt of social support did not modify one's expression of loneliness over time. Loneliness was more highly correlated with support from friends than family. Together, social support from both friends and family accounted for 36% of the total variance in loneliness. Discussion: There is conceptual and empirical overlap between the concepts of loneliness and social support, but results suggest that loneliness following widowhood cannot be remedied by interventions aimed only at increasing social support. Social support, especially that from friends, appears to be most effective if it is readily accessible and allows the newly bereaved an opportunity to express him/herself.
Type Text
Publisher Oxford University Press
Volume 69
Issue 1
First Page 85
Last Page 94
Language eng
Bibliographic Citation Utz, R. L., Swenson, K. L., Caserta, M., Lund, D., & DeVries, B. (2014). Feeling lonely versus being alone: loneliness and social support among recently bereaved persons. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, 69(1), 85-94.
Rights Management (c) Oxford University Press. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in the Journals of Gerontology following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Utz, R. L., Swenson, K. L., Caserta, M., Lund, D., & deVries, B. (2014). Feeling lonely versus being alone: loneliness and social support among recently bereaved persons. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, 69(1), 85-94, is available online at: DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbt075.
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 2,357,924 bytes
Identifier uspace,18526
ARK ark:/87278/s60s2zkd
Setname ir_uspace
Date Created 2015-02-27
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 712835
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s60s2zkd
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