Loneliness and depressive symptoms among older adults: The moderating role of subjective life expectancy

Ehud Bodner, Yoav S. Bergman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Loneliness and depressive symptoms are closely related, and both are indicators of reduced physical and mental well-being in old age. In recent years, the subjective perception of how long an individual expects to live (subjective life expectancy) has gained importance as a significant predictor of future psychological functioning, as well as of physical health. The current study examined whether subjective life expectancy moderates the connection between loneliness and depressive symptoms in a representative sample of older adults. Data was collected from the Israeli component of the fifth wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE-Israel). Participants (n=2210; mean age=70.35) completed measures of loneliness, depressive symptoms, and life expectancy target age. A hierarchical regression analysis predicting depressive symptoms yielded a significant interaction of loneliness and subjective life expectancy. Further analyses demonstrated that low subjective life expectancy mitigated the loneliness-depressive symptoms connection. Findings are discussed in light of the potential burden of higher subjective life expectancy for lonesome older adults, and practical implications are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


This paper uses data from SHARE wave 5 release 1.0.0, as of March 31st 2015 (DOI: 10.6103/SHARE.w5.100) or SHARE wave 4 release 1.1.1, as of March 28th 2013 (DOI: 10.6103/SHARE.w4.111) or SHARE waves 1 and 2 release 2.6.0, as of November 29th 2013 (DOIs: 10.6103/SHARE.w1.260 and 10.6103/SHARE.w2.260) or SHARELIFE release 1.0.0, as of November 24th 2010 (DOI: 10.6103/SHARE.w3.100). The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Program (project QLK6-CT- 2001-00360 in the thematic program Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Program (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th Framework Program (SHARE-PREP, N° 211909, SHARE-LEAP, N° 227822 and SHARE M4, N° 261982). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging ( U01 AG09740-13S2 , P01 AG005842 , P01 AG08291 , P30 AG12815 , R21 AG025169 , Y1-AG-4553-01 , IAG BSR06-11 and OGHA 04-064 ) and the German Ministry of Education and Research as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see www.share-project.org for a full list of funding institutions).

FundersFunder number
National Institute on AgingR21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11, P01 AG005842, P30 AG12815, OGHA 04-064, U01 AG09740-13S2, P01AG008291
Seventh Framework Programme261982, 211909, 227822
Sixth Framework ProgrammeCIT5- CT-2005-028857, CIT4-CT-2006-028812, RII-CT-2006-062193
Fifth Framework ProgrammeQLK6-CT- 2001-00360
European Commission
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung


    • Elderly
    • Perceived social isolation
    • Psychological distress
    • SHARE-Israel
    • Subjective distance to death


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