The health and wellbeing of older women living alone in the UK: is living alone a risk factor for poorer health?

Forward, Cat, Khan, Hafiz T.A. ORCID:, Fox, Pauline ORCID: and Usher, Lee (2021) The health and wellbeing of older women living alone in the UK: is living alone a risk factor for poorer health? Ageing International. ISSN 0163-5158

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Older women are more likely to live alone in later life in the UK; however, relatively little is known as to how this has an association with poorer health. This paper attempts to fill this research gap, assessing if living alone is a risk factor for poorer health in later life. The Household Panel Survey data, wave 8 were used which was collected during 2017 in the United Kingdom. Women’s household types were divided into three types: living alone, living with a partner and living with others (not a partner). Seven health and wellbeing outcome variables were used. Descriptive analysis and regression analyses examined the role of living alone in predicting health and wellbeing, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic (SES) factors. Results showed significant differences between the household types. However, living alone was not found to be a risk factor for poorer health once SES variables were included in the regression models. While there were differences in the health and wellbeing of the three household composition types, these differences were not found to be significant once demographic and socioeconomic variables were accounted for. Future UK policy should aim to reduce inequalities in SES throughout the life course to improve health and wellbeing in later life. Future research directions include a more detailed examination of the determinants of health of this population.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1007/s12126-021-09426-w
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Ageing International. The final authenticated version is available online at: A Correction to this article was published on 14 September 2021:
Keywords: Older women; Living alone; Lone dwelling; Health and wellbeing; Household composition
Subjects: Medicine and health > Health promotion and public health
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Hafiz T.A. Khan
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2021 09:10
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:06


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