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Loneliness and psychological well-being among community-dwelling elderly people: the mediating role of death anxiety

N. Sreelekha (N. Sreelekha and Surendra Kumar Sia are both based at the Department of Applied Psychology, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India)
Surendra Kumar Sia (N. Sreelekha and Surendra Kumar Sia are both based at the Department of Applied Psychology, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 18 March 2022

Issue publication date: 28 November 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

The present study aims to investigate the relationship between loneliness and psychological well-being and examine whether death anxiety mediates the association between loneliness and psychological well-being among community-dwelling elderly people in the Kerala state of India.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 209 participants (125 males and 84 females) were selected for this study through the convenience sampling method. SPSS (version 22) was used to estimate descriptive and correlational indices. Mediation analysis was conducted using Hayes Process macro-Version 3.5 and 5,000 bootstrapped sample-based analysis.

Findings

Results indicate the significant indirect effect of loneliness on psychological well-being through the influence of death anxiety. It was thus concluded that lonely feelings among elderly people lower psychological well-being and death anxiety partially mediates the relationship of loneliness and psychological well-being.

Research limitations/implications

The cross-sectional study with the use of questionnaires might not be adequate to establish causal links. All the participants were from community-dwelling. So it reduces the possibility of generalizing the findings to institutional settings. The study recommends the need and importance of mental health support for elderly people through community intervention programs to reduce their feeling of loneliness.

Originality/value

The present study contributes to the existing body of knowledge by substantiating the mediating role of death anxiety in the relationship between loneliness and the psychological well-being of elderly people staying at home.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to all the participants involved in the study for their effective participation and time.Conflicts of interest: The authors have indicated that their authoring and the publication of the work do not include any conflicts of interest.Ethics approval: The present study was carried out fulfilling the principles of Helsinki. Declaration: Approval for the study was accorded from the Institutional Ethics Committee (Human Studies) of Pondicherry University, India.

Citation

Sreelekha, N. and Sia, S.K. (2022), "Loneliness and psychological well-being among community-dwelling elderly people: the mediating role of death anxiety", Working with Older People, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 374-386. https://doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-08-2021-0042

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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