Loneliness and psychological well-being among the elderly in Buffalo City, South Africa

21 Jan 2022

This study examined the correlation between loneliness and four dimensions of psychological well-being (PWB) of old people in South Africa as they vary by their socio-demographic characteristics. Respondents were a non-probability/random sample of 301 elderly in Buffalo City, South Africa (female = 69.1%, male = 30.9%; mean age (old age home /private home) = 75.43 /74.39 years, SD (old age home /private home) = 7.25 /7.68 years; black = 57.9%, white = 42.1%) were used. The respondents completed the Ryff Psychological Well-being Scale (RPWBS) and the University of California Loneliness Scale (UCLALS). Hierarchical regression analysis results indicate ethnicity is predictive of loneliness. Specifically, black people had both lower levels of loneliness and autonomy compared to the white elderly. Moreover, white elderly with low levels of loneliness had higher levels of self-acceptance compared to the black elderly. These findings suggest ethnic affiliation to moderate self-acceptance, environmental mastery, and autonomy; except for purpose in life. Interventions to support the elderly with loneliness should prioritise building their social capital base for psychological well-being.