Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Kathleen Sekula

Committee Member

Rick Zoucha

Committee Member

Laurie Theeke

Committee Member

Meredith Troutman-Jordan

Committee Member

Jeffrey Stokes


loneliness, interpersonal goals, compassionate goals, self-image goals, life satisfaction, subjective well-being, older adults, lonely, Health and Retirement Study, secondary data analysis


Background: Loneliness is detrimental to health and is linked to numerous physiological and psychological problems. People across the age spectrum can be affected by loneliness at one point or another in their lives; however, older adults are disproportionally affected.

Aims: This study investigated the effect of interpersonal goals (compassionate and self-image goals), life satisfaction, and subjective well-being on loneliness in older adults and the influence of demographics and social support. The Ecosystem-Egosystem Theory of Social Motivation served as the theoretical framework.

Design and Method: This descriptive cross-sectional correlational study used the 2016 Health and Retirement Study. Participants were 65 years of age or older, community-dwelling, and able to complete the interview themselves. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the association between dependent and independent variables.

Findings: Interpersonal goals, subjective well-being, and life satisfaction were significantly related to loneliness. Higher compassionate and self-image goals reported less loneliness.

Conclusion: These results add to understanding the effect of interpersonal goals on loneliness in older adults. Initial findings warrant further exploration. Existing loneliness interventions for older adults may benefit from the outcomes of the study.



Additional Citations

Ezeokonkwo, F., Sekula, K., Theeke, L. Loneliness in homebound older adults:

Integrative Literature Review. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 47(8), 13-20.