Life events and personality predicting loneliness among centenarians: findings from the Georgia Centenarian Study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Regarding the purpose of this study, the researchers analyzed the roles that both life events (life-time positive events and life-time negative events) and personality (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Trust, Competence, and Ideas) played in participants of the Georgia Centenarian Study. The researchers analyzed these variables to determine whether they predicted loneliness. Analyses indicated that life-time negative events significantly predicted loneliness. In essence, the higher was the number of life-time negative life events, the higher was the loneliness score. Moreover, Neuroticism, Competence, and Ideas were all significant predictors of loneliness. The higher was the level of Neuroticism and intellectual curiosity, the higher was the level of loneliness, whereas the lower was the level of Competence, the higher was the level of loneliness. In addition, both life-time positive and life-time negative life events were significant predictors of Neuroticism. The higher was the number of life-time positive events, the lower was the level of Neuroticism, and the higher was the number of life-time negative events, the greater was the level of Neuroticism. These results indicated that life-time negative events indirectly affect loneliness via Neuroticism. Last, our results indicated that the Competence facet mediated the relationship between lifetime negative life events and loneliness. Life-time negative life events significantly affected centenarians' perceived competence, and Competence in turn significantly affected the centenarians' loneliness. These results as a whole not only add to our understanding of the link between personality and loneliness, but also provide new insight into how life events predict loneliness.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hensley, B; Martin, P; Margrett, JA; MacDonald, M; Siegler, IC; Poon, LW; Jazwinski, SM; Green, RC; Gearing, M; Woodard, JL; Johnson, MA; Tenover, JS; Rodgers, WL; Hausman, DB; Rott, C; Davey, A; Arnold, J

Published Date

  • 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 146 / 1-2

Start / End Page

  • 173 - 188

PubMed ID

  • 22303619

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3980

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/00223980.2011.613874


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States