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Authors: Reinwarth, Anna Celine
Ernst, Mareike
Krakau, Lina
Brähler, Elmar
Beutel, Manfred E.
Title: Screening for loneliness in representative population samples : validation of a single-item measure
Online publication date: 17-Aug-2023
Year of first publication: 2023
Language: english
Abstract: Background Loneliness is a highly relevant public mental health issue. This work presents the validation of a single-item measure of loneliness and its subjective experience: “I am frequently alone/have few contacts”. It can be used in large-scale population surveys where an economical assessment is of key importance. Methods Data was drawn from two representative German population surveys conducted in early and late 2020 (combined N = 4,984; 52.9% women; age: M = 48.39 years (SD = 17.88)). We determined the prevalence of loneliness in men and women across different age groups. In order to test concurrent validity, bivariate correlation analyses and Chi-square tests were performed. Convergent and discriminant validity were tested by investigating intercorrelations of the single-item measure of loneliness with another loneliness measure, other mental health outcomes, and associations with sociodemographic characteristics. Results Based on the single-item measure, 23.4% of participants reported some degree of loneliness, 3.4% among them severe loneliness. Comparisons with the LS-S showed similar prevalence rates of loneliness. A moderately positive relationship between the two loneliness measures was found by bivariate correlation analysis (ρ = .57, p < .001), but results indicated only weak convergent validity. Construct validity was supported by associations with depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, satisfaction with life, household size, and partnership. Conclusions Loneliness is frequently reported in the general population. The single-item measure of loneliness is suitable as a brief screening measure in population-based assessments.
DDC: 610 Medizin
610 Medical sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 04 Medizin
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Document type specification: Scientific article
License: CC BY
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Journal: PLOS ONE
Pages or article number: e0279701
Publisher: PLOS
Publisher place: San Francisco, California, US
Issue date: 2023
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publisher DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0279701
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-G

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