Social network, social support, and loneliness in older persons with different chronic diseases

B.W.J.H. Penninx, T.G. van Tilburg, D.M.W. Kriegsman, A.J.P. Boeke, D.J.H. Deeg, J.T.M. van Eijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This study examines whether patterns of social network size, functional social support, and loneliness are different for older persons with different types of chronic diseases. Methods: In a community-based sample of 2,788 men and women age 55 to 85 years participating in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam; chronic diseases status, social network size, support exchanges, and loneliness were assessed. Results: Social network size and emotional support exchanges were not associated with disease status. The only differences between healthy and chronically ill people were found for receipt of instrumental support and loneliness. Disease characteristics played a differential role: greater feelings of loneliness were mainly found for persons with lung disease or arthritis, and receiving more instrumental support was mainly found for persons with arthritis or stroke. Discussion: The specifics of a disease appear to play a (small) role in the receipt of instrumental support and feelings of loneliness of chronically ill older persons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-168
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of aging and health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

Cite this