Loneliness and Emergency and Planned Hospitalizations in a Community Sample of Older Adults


Address correspondence to Gerard J. Molloy, Department of Psychology, Cottrell Building, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK. E-mail: g.j.molloy@stir.ac.uk


OBJECTIVES: To examine whether loneliness is independently associated with emergency hospitalization and planned hospital inpatient admissions in a population sample of older adults.

DESIGN: Nationally representative cross-sectional interviews in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

SETTING: Private homes in the community.

PARTICIPANTS: Randomly selected older people in the community (aged ≥65, N=2,033).

MEASUREMENTS: Emergency hospitalization and planned hospital admissions.

RESULTS: Eleven percent of the sample had an emergency hospitalization, and 15% had a planned hospital admission. Forty-two percent reported being bothered by loneliness. A higher frequency of loneliness was associated with emergency hospitalization only (odds ratio=1.29, 95% confidence interval=1.08–1.55), and this association was independent of a range of potential confounders in multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSION: In this community-based sample of older adults, greater loneliness was independently associated with emergency hospitalization but not planned inpatient admissions.