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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-27

Study of loneliness, depression and coping mechanisms in elderly

Department of Psychiatry, Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Nitin B Raut
Department of Psychiatry, Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-9995.141920

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Aims and Objectives: To study loneliness, depression and coping mechanism and the relationship between these factors in depressed and non-depressed elderly. Materials and Methods: Cross sectional study was done on 46 depressed and 48 non-depressed elderly were assessed clinically and using Geriatric Depression Scale-Short form [GDS-SF], loneliness scale, and brief cope scale. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS 20 software. Result: Mean GDS scores, mean loneliness (emotional and social) scores of depressed patients were higher than that of non- depressed, and this difference was found to be statistically significant [GDS: t = 14.33, p<0.001, loneliness Score: t = 7.23, p<0.001]. Self-distraction (mal-adaptive-passive) was the most commonly used coping mechanism in depressed group, while in the non-depressed group active coping (adaptive) was most common coping mechanism. Loneliness (emotional as well as social subscale) was a significant predictor of depression in both depressed and non-depressed group (Beta = .714, p<0.001) and (Beta = .629, p<0.001) and predicted 51% and 39% variance in depression respectively. Loneliness appeared as a distinct factor which seems to have a temporal and synergistic relationship with depression. Use of more adaptive coping mechanisms is associated with decrease in loneliness and depression while use of maladaptive coping mechanism is associated with decreased depression and loneliness in elderly. Conclusion: Loneliness is an important distinct factor in predicting depression in elderly. Coping mechanisms used, also affects loneliness and depression significantly.

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