The Big Five Personality Traits as Predictors of Loneliness among Older Men in Israel

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Abstract

Loneliness may have complex implications for the mental and physical health of older people. It could have unique expressions among older men due to the social construction of gender, which raises an expectation that men should be strong, assertive, and capable of independently coping with their difficulties. As a result, older men suffering from loneliness may avoid talking about it and seeking help for this matter. The Big Five personality traits were found to be associated with many life domains, including loneliness, yet this issue has received limited research attention with regard to older adults in general and older men in particular. Therefore, the current study explores the contribution of the Big Five personality traits to understanding loneliness among older men in Israel, while controlling for several demographic factors. The data were collected through structured questionnaires administered to a sample of 392 older men. The results indicate that agreeableness, emotional stability, and openness to experiences were negatively associated with older men’s loneliness. In addition, no association was found between extraversion and conscientiousness and respondents’ loneliness, and no significant association was found between age and loneliness, and being employed and being in a relationship were associated with lower levels of loneliness. The conclusion is that it is important that professionals working with older men utilize the Big Five personality traits to understand loneliness and offer them interventions for reducing their loneliness. Furthermore, it is essential to promote social awareness of the importance of intimate relationships, as well as of employment, in the old age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-74
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Volume154
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Big Five personality traits
  • age-related changes
  • gender issues
  • loneliness
  • older men
  • personality

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