Loneliness Among Older Adults in Latin America, China, and India: Prevalence, Correlates and Association With Mortality

Qian Gao, Matthew Prina, Martin Prince, Daisy Acosta, Ana Luisa Sosa, Mariella Guerra, Yueqin Huang, Ivonne Jimenez-Velazquez, Juan Llibre Rodriguez, Aquiles Salas, Joseph Williams, Zhaorui Liu, Isaac Acosta, Rosie Mayston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This study was designed to explore prevalence and correlates of self-reported loneliness and to investigate whether loneliness predicts mortality among older adults (aged 65 or above) in Latin America, China and India. Methods: The study investigated population-based cross-sectional (2003-2007) and longitudinal surveys (follow-up 2007-2010) from the 10/66 Dementia Research Group project. Poisson regression and Cox regression analyses were conducted to analyse correlates of loneliness and its association with mortality. Results: The standardised prevalence of loneliness varied between 25.3 and 32.4% in Latin America and was 18.3% in India. China showed a low prevalence of loneliness (3.8%). In pooled meta-analyses, there was robust evidence to support an association between loneliness and mortality across Latin American countries (HR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.01-1.26, I2 = 10.1%) and China (HR = 1.58, 95% CI 1.03-2.41), but there were no associations in India. Conclusion: Our findings suggest potential cultural variances may exist in the concept of loneliness in older age. The effect of loneliness upon mortality is consistent across different cultural settings excluding India. Loneliness should therefore be considered as a potential dimension of public health among older populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604449
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Early online date31 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021


  • Loneliness, Mortality, Older Adults, Low- and Middle-Income Countries, Social Ageing


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