Migration and changes in loneliness over a 4-year period: the case of older former Soviet Union immigrants in Israel

Pnina Dolberg*, Sharon Shiovitz-Ezra, Liat Ayalon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Both older adult and immigrant populations are at a high risk of loneliness. The current research compares older veteran Israelis to older immigrants who arrived in Israel from the former Soviet Union (FSU) after 1989. Early studies have found high levels of loneliness among older FSU immigrants; however, little is known regarding changes in loneliness among this group over time. The present study examines change in loneliness among older FSU immigrants and older veteran Jewish Israelis and its potential predictors. A prospective association between immigrant’s status and loneliness over time was examined using the second (2009/2010) and third (2013) waves of SHARE-Israel. The sample consisted of 208 FSU immigrants and 1080 veteran Jewish Israelis. Bivariate analyses indicated that in 2009/2010, older FSU immigrants were significantly lonelier than older veteran Jews, and more disadvantaged on all social and health variables measured. Yet, no significant differences emerged between the two groups with regard to loneliness in 2013. In the adjusted model, older immigrants presented positive change in loneliness (less loneliness over time) compared with veteran Jewish Israelis. Depressive symptoms explained a large part of the variance in change in loneliness. Potential explanations suggest that the long-term psychological adjustment process and the characteristics of the FSU immigrants in Israel as a large and relatively strong immigrant group have served as protective factors with regard to changes in loneliness over time.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Immigrants
  • Israel
  • Loneliness
  • Longitudinal research
  • Older adults


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