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Mental health
Understanding loneliness among older populations in context of depression
  1. Kishore Karri,
  2. Pradeep Yarra
  1. Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pradeep Yarra, Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506, USA; pya227{at}

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Commentary on: Martín-María N, Caballero FF, Lara E, et al. Effects of transient and chronic loneliness on major depression in older adults: A longitudinal study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2021;36(1):76-85. doi: 10.1002/gps.5397.

Implications for practice and research

  • In older populations, both transient and chronic loneliness have an increased risk of major depression.

  • Focused multifaceted interventions on loneliness could prevent depression, but further research is needed to understand and identify the factors that lead to chronification of loneliness.


With a growing number of ageing populations across the world, prevalence of loneliness in older population ranges from 20% to 34% in Europe, USA and Asia.1 Understanding and addressing the social, psychological and healthcare use-related effects of loneliness is vital to general well-being in older populations. Transient loneliness refers to short and infrequent feelings of loneliness, whereas chronic loneliness alludes to feelings that last longer than 2 years.2 Martín-María et al …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.