A cross-lagged model of the reciprocal associations of loneliness and memory functioning

Liat Ayalon*, Sharon Shiovitz-Ezra, Ilan Roziner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The study was designed to evaluate the reciprocal associations of loneliness and memory functioning using a cross-lagged model. The study was based on the psychosocial questionnaire of the Health and Retirement Study, which is a U.S. nationally representative survey of individuals over the age of 50 and their spouses of any age. A total of 1,225 respondents had complete data on the loneliness measure in 2004 and at least in 1 of the subsequent waves (e.g., 2008, 2012) and were maintained for analysis. A cross-lagged model was estimated to examine the reciprocal associations of loneliness and memory functioning, controlling for age, gender, education, depressive symptoms, number of medical conditions, and the number of close social relationships. The model had adequate fit indices: x2(860, N = 1,225) = 1,401.54, p < .001, Tucker-Lewis index = .957, comparative fit index .963, and root mean square error of approximation = .023 (90% confidence interval [.021, .025]). The lagged effect of loneliness on memory functioning was nonsignificant, B(SE)= - .11(08), p = .15, whereas the lagged effect of memory functioning on loneliness was significant, B(SE) = .06(02), p = .01, indicating that lower levels of memory functioning precede higher levels of loneliness 4 years afterward. Further research is required to better understand the mechanisms responsible for the temporal association between reduced memory functioning and increased loneliness.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Health and Retirement Study is supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA U01AG009740) and the Social Security Administration. The authors received no external financial support for this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Loneliness
  • Longitudinal
  • Older adults


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