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Home > Early-life circumstances and later-life loneliness in ireland.

Kamiya, Yumiko and Doyle, Martha and Henretta, John C and Timonen, Virpi (2014) Early-life circumstances and later-life loneliness in ireland. The Gerontologist , 54 , (5) , pp. 773-83.


Purpose of the study: This article examines the impact of early- and later-life circumstances on loneliness among people aged 65+ in Ireland.

Design and methods: Data are from the first wave of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling adults aged 50+. The participants (N = 2,645) aged 65+ were included in the analysis. Because of the large number of never married persons in the older Irish population, we first used a multinomial logistic model to examine which childhood circumstances are associated with current marital status. We then estimated multiple regression models for loneliness, in stages conforming to the life course, to examine the extent to which early events are mediated by later events.

Results: Poor childhood socioeconomic status (for men and women) and parental substance abuse (for men) have direct effects on loneliness at older ages.

Implications: The results indicate the significance of the childhood environment for understanding loneliness in later life. Future research should examine possible pathways not currently measured that may be responsible for the association of early environment and later-life loneliness and explore the links between childhood and other measures of well-being in old age. The relationship of childhood socioeconomic deprivation and parental substance abuse with adult well-being should be an important consideration in social policy planning.

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