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Perceived loneliness among older adults with mild cognitive impairment

  • Junhong Yu (a1) (a2), Charlene L. M. Lam (a1) (a2) and Tatia M. C. Lee (a1) (a2) (a3)

Abstract

Background:

The high prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in Hong Kong, as previously reported, requires verification. Furthermore, the relationship between loneliness, depression, and cognitive impairment with regards to MCI are unclear. The present study aims to establish the prevalence of MCI in a community sample in Hong Kong and determine if participants with MCI feel significantly lonelier, even after depression has been taken into consideration.

Methods:

Participants from a community sample (N = 376) were assessed with subjective and objective measures of cognitive impairments to determine whether the criteria had been met for MCI. The MCI cases are then compared with age, sex, and education-matched controls on subjective measures of loneliness and depression.

Results:

A total of 66 (17.6%) participants were diagnosed with MCI. These participants reported significantly higher levels of perceived loneliness and depression compared to the matched controls. Differences between groups in loneliness remained significant, even after depression levels have been controlled.

Conclusions:

Loneliness is implicated in MCI. The relationship between loneliness and MCI is, at least, partially independent of depression. The implications of these finding are discussed.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Tatia M.C. Lee, Ph.D., R. Psych. Rm 656, Jockey Club Tower, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong. Phone: (852)3917-8394. Email: tmclee@hku.hk.

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