Aging, Marital Status, and Loneliness: Multilevel Analyses of 30 Countries
Using the European Social Survey and the UN databases, this paper investigates the differences in feelings of loneliness among different marital status groups in old age. Findings presented in this paper suggest that married elders are the least lonely group, while never-married elders come thereafter, better than widowed, divorced, and separated elders. Overall, while married individuals are the happiest and the least lonely of all groups, marriage, on average, ends up with less benign results in late stages of life. The discussion part in this paper suggests that these findings might fit with the “greedy marriage” argument that long-term never-married people develop social skills and circles over time, which allows them to be more immune to loneliness and depression than widowed, divorced, and separated elders.
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