Journal article 1113 views
Loneliness and Ethnic Minority Elders in Great Britain: An Exploratory Study
Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, Volume: 27, Issue: 1, Pages: 65 - 78
Swansea University Author: Vanessa Burholt
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Loneliness, which describes the deficit between an individuals’ expectation of thequality and/or quantity of social relationships and the actuality, is associated with poorquality of life, negative health outcomes and, in some cases, increased use of statutoryservices. Within Great Britain few studi...
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Loneliness, which describes the deficit between an individuals’ expectation of thequality and/or quantity of social relationships and the actuality, is associated with poorquality of life, negative health outcomes and, in some cases, increased use of statutoryservices. Within Great Britain few studies have examined the prevalence of lonelinessamongst older people from ethnic minorities. In this exploratory study we consider theprevalence of loneliness amongst older people, those aged 65 years and over, from the keyminority groups growing old in Britain (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, African Caribbean,and Chinese) and draw explicit comparisons for these groups with the prevalence ofloneliness reported for the general population and with older people in their countries oforigin. We use two data sources: the Ethnicity and Loneliness Survey, a study of 300minority elders aged 65+ living in the community, provides our prevalence estimates andsecondary analysis of a study of 169 South Asian elders (aged 65+) undertaken in Birminghamto validate our prevalence rates for the Indian and Bangladeshi populations.We identified veryhigh rates of reported loneliness, ranging from24% to 50%amongst for those elders originatingfrom China, Africa, the Caribbean, Pakistan and Bangladesh whilst those from Indiaapproximated to the norms of 8–10% for Britain. These results suggest that it isfeasible to research loneliness amongst minority communities in Britain; that the levels ofloneliness are, with the exception of the Indian population, very much higher than for thegeneral population but are broadly comparable with rates of loneliness reported for older peoplein their countries of origin. There is a rich research agenda to be developed in extending ourunderstanding of loneliness in later life amongst the increasingly culturally and ethnicallydiverse older population of Great Britain.
Ethnicity; loneliness; Migration; Old age
College of Human and Health Sciences