Bone and Joint Institute

Title

The Role of Cultural and Family Values on Social Connectedness and Loneliness among Ethnic Minority Elders

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2019

Journal

Clinical Gerontologist

Volume

42

Issue

1

First Page

114

Last Page

126

URL with Digital Object Identifier

10.1080/07317115.2017.1395377

Abstract

© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis. Objectives: Ethnic minority elders have high levels of social isolation and loneliness. Assumptions about the family providing enough social support exist in the literature, contradicting ethnic minority elders’ reported levels of isolation and loneliness. While structural barriers influence feelings of isolation and loneliness, limited information exists about the role of cultural factors such as acculturation and family values. Accordingly, this study investigated the roles of acculturation and family values on loneliness and social isolation among ethnic minority elders. Methods: Ethnic minority elders (N = 123) completed a questionnaire that assessed their social connectedness, measured by social network and levels of loneliness, and structural factors such as income. Additionally, cultural and family values were assessed by acculturation and the ‘family as referents’ dimension of familism, which refers to the belief that family members’ behaviour should meet with familial expectations. Results: Statistical analysis using hierarchical regression indicated that ‘family as referents’ and acculturation predicted loneliness, but not social network. Conclusions: This study raises the importance of considering cultural values when investigating predictors of loneliness among ethnic minority elders. Clinical Implications: Findings highlight the importance of addressing familial expectations in programs aimed at alleviating loneliness among ethnic minority elders.

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