Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Ageing in Solitude: Perception and Health among Older Adults

Assistant Professor Peter Tay, PhD | Singapore Institute of Technology; Assistant Professor Nadya Patel |EdD
Competition Sponsor: 
Ministry of Health and National Research Foundation of Singapore
Awardee year: 2022


Being alone can be a negative or positive experience and little is known about the health benefits associated with solitary experiences involving positive emotions, spiritual or mental renewal. This research aims to delineate solitary and loneliness experiences among older adults in the context of eating, working, physical and recreational activity participation. Effectiveness of health messaging relating to solitary and social activities will also be investigated. Approximately three hundred older Singaporeans will be recruited for a survey eliciting the amount of time they spent alone and with others for the activities. In addition, they will report whether they have any medical conditions and mental disorders, their satisfaction with life and quality of life. They will then be randomised into one of four experimental conditions to determine which method of health messaging aimed to promote solitary and social activities is most effective. Each health promotional advertisement is rated for affective quality, meaningfulness, and persuasiveness. Multiple linear regression analyses will be conducted to examine the correlations between perceived solitude and loneliness, and the health correlates; and the effectiveness of varied health messaging will be examined. The findings provide insights on the qualitative differences between solitude and loneliness experiences among older adults and their health outcomes. The effectiveness of health messaging through visual advertisement will also be assessed. Findings can inform policymakers, and healthcare and social care professionals in terms of the activities that could support and promote positive solitude experiences and potentially better health.

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