This research from the ‘Campaign-to-End-Loneliness-‘ examines the relationship between poor health, loneliness and depression in later life for people living in rural areas through the lens of “cognitive discrepancy” theory. This theory suggests loneliness occurs when there is “mismatch” between the quality and frequency of social connections that we want, and those that we have. The research presents commissioners and services with some lessons.
Among them, Depression can increase loneliness by changing expectations of social connections.
Cognitive discrepancy theory suggests there are two ways to alleviate or prevent loneliness. The first is to increase the quality and/or frequency of social interaction and the second is to adjust expectations of our relationships. Both strategies address the “mismatch” at the heart of loneliness.
However, if an older adult is suffering from depression, it can be more difficult to address this mismatch. This is because depression can negatively adjust someone’s expectations of the amount and quality of social relationships they have or need. Service providers therefore need to be aware that depression affects perceptions, and not assume that simply because someone has relationships that they are protected from loneliness and a range of support may be require.
Continue reading, please visit: http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/wp-content/uploads/Campaign-to-End-Loneliness-Research-Bulletin-11.pdf