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Adzmel Mahmud
Rohana Jani
Azadeh Erfanian


As people grow older, the risk of becoming lonely increases. Loneliness has a negative impact on both mental and physical health in older persons. Although research on loneliness among older persons is expanding, less is known about loneliness in Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia. Therefore, this study's purpose is to investigate the prevalence of loneliness and its associated factors among older persons in Malaysia using the most recent national survey data from the 2014 Malaysian Population and Family Survey. The sample was extracted to include ever-married Malays, other Bumiputera, and Chinese and Indian groups aged 60 and above who had children. Loneliness was measured using a single self-reported question about whether respondents had ever felt lonely, which was then categorised as a binary variable. A Chi-square test was performed on feelings of loneliness across socio-demographic characteristics, mental health, physical health, family support, and social participation, followed by logistic regression analysis using significant variables as predictors. The prevalence of loneliness among older persons was 35.7%. The logistic regression showed that factors contributing to the likelihood of feeling lonely include being widowed, divorced, or separated, experiencing anxiety, physical limitations, and sharing problems with children. In contrast, residing in urban areas, having higher education levels, having more sources of income, having life satisfaction, perceiving life as meaningful, having fair and good self-rated health, co-residence with adult children, and participation in religious activities were associated with a lower likelihood of experiencing loneliness. Loneliness is a serious issue among older persons in Malaysia. The government, community, and family should immediately address this psychological problem. The study suggests the need for appropriate strategies for the prevention of loneliness should be developed in the near future.


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Author Biographies

Adzmel Mahmud, Department of Applied Statistics, Faculty of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaya




Rohana Jani, Ungku Aziz Centre for Development Studies, Universiti Malaya






Azadeh Erfanian, Department of Applied Statistics, Faculty of Business and Economics, Universiti Malaya