Ageing and Society

Research Article

Social Isolation and Loneliness in Old Age: Review and Model Refinement

G. Clare Wengera1, Richard Daviesa2, Said Shahtahmasebia3 and Anne Scotta1

a1 Centre for Social Policy Research and Development, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG, U.K.

a2 Centre for Applied Statistics, Lancaster University

a3 Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority.


This paper reviews the empirical literature on social isolation and loneliness and identifies a wide range of published correlates. Using data from a study conducted in North Wales, which included many of the same correlated variables, a statistical modelling technique is used to refine models of isolation and loneliness by controlling for co-variance. The resulting models indicate that the critical factors for isolation are: marital status, network type and social class; and, for loneliness: network type, household composition and health.

(Accepted February 28 1995)