Do stress, health behaviour, and sleep mediate the association between loneliness and adverse health conditions among older people?
Abstract. Introduction: Prior research has established an association between loneliness and a variety of negative health conditions among older people. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying this association. Objective: Building on the Loneliness Model, Hawkley and Cacioppo (2010) identified possible pathways through which loneliness may affect the development of adverse health conditions. The present study was designed to test the pathways proposed by Hawkley and Cacioppo. Methods: The sample consisted of 8593 elderly ranging from 65 to 102 years of age participating in the 2013 Public Health Survey "How are yoy?". Results: Findings show that loneliness was significantly associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and migraine. In addition high perceived stress, physical inactivity, daily smoking, and poor sleep mediated the association between loneliness and adverse health conditions. Moreover, findings demostrate several gender differences in the association between loneliness and various adverse condition and the indirect mechanisms affecting these associations. Conclusion: The findings largely support the pathways proposed by Hawkley and Cacioppo.