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Loneliness, socio-economic status and quality of life in old age: the moderating role of housing tenure

  • AGNES SZABO (a1), JOANNE ALLEN (a1), FIONA ALPASS (a1) and CHRISTINE STEPHENS (a1)

Abstract

The study investigated housing tenure as a factor moderating the effects of loneliness and socio-economic status (SES) on quality of life (control and autonomy, pleasure, and self-realisation) over a two-year period for older adults. Data from the 2010 and 2012 waves of the New Zealand Health, Work, and Retirement Study were analysed. Using case-control matching, for each tenant (N = 332) we selected a home-owner (N = 332) of the same age, gender, ethnicity, SES, working status and urban/rural residence. Structural equation modelling was employed to examine the impact of SES, housing tenure and loneliness on quality of life over time. Emotional loneliness exerted a significant negative main effect on control and autonomy and pleasure. Tenure and SES influenced control and autonomy, but not pleasure or self-realisation. Tenure moderated the effect of emotional loneliness on control and autonomy, with the negative effect of emotional loneliness weaker for home-owners compared to renters. Tenure moderated the effect of SES on control and autonomy, with the positive impact of SES stronger for home-owners. Findings suggest that owners capitalise on their material and financial resources more than tenants in terms of their quality of life. In addition, home-ownership can act as a protective factor against the harmful effects of emotional loneliness in old age.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Agnes Szabo, School of Psychology, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Massey University, Manawatuū, 4442, New Zealand E-mail: A.Szabo@massey.ac.nz

References

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