Et Øst-Vest skille for eldres livskvalitet i Europa? En sammenligning av ensomhet og depressive symptomer i 12 land
This study explores late-life loneliness and depression in European countries, noting the role of micro-level differences in socioeconomic status, health, and social variables. Findings from cross-sectional, nationally representative data from 12 countries and 36,000 individuals in the Generations and Gender Survey show a marked East–West divide among older but not among younger adults. Among older adults (aged 60–80) loneliness and depression are as much as three to four times more prevalent in Eastern European (20–40%) than in Northwest European countries (10–15%). These patterns reflect economic, social, and societal issues which in turn affect the conditions for active and healthy aging. There is considerable variation among Eastern European countries, correlating with macro-level economic development and welfare spending. Generous welfare states seem to offer a buffer against, or postpone, the risk of late-life depression and loneliness. Cultural factors may also play a role: because of high expectations as to strong family and community ties, Eastern Europeans may have a lower loneliness threshold than other Europeans.