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Being alone in later life: loneliness, social isolation and living alone

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2001

Christina Victor
St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, UK
Sasha Scambler
St George’s Hospital Medical School, London, UK
John Bond
University of Newcastle, Newcastle, UK
Ann Bowling
University College, London, UK



The context for the review of loneliness and social isolation in later life is that of ‘successful aging’ and ‘quality of life’. The term ‘quality of life‘ includes a broad range of areas of life and there is little agreement about the definition of the term. Models of quality of life range from identification of ‘life satisfaction’ or ‘social wellbeing’ to models based upon concepts of independence, control, and social and cognitive competence. However, regardless of how the concept of quality of life is defined, research has consistently demonstrated the importance of social and family relationships in the definition of a ‘good quality of life’.

Review Article
© Cambridge University Press 2000

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