Loneliness and depressive symptoms in middle aged and older adults experiencing serious mental illness.

Objective: To examine the relationship between loneliness and depressive symptoms among middle-aged and older adults diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI). Method: Cross-sectional data from a community mental health center were used to understand the contribution of loneliness to depressive symptoms. Participants (n = 100) were aged 50 or older, diagnosed with SMI, and receiving intensive case management services. Hierarchical linear regression was conducted to explore the relationship of social and emotional loneliness to depressive symptoms when controlling for trauma symptom severity and self-rated health. Results: The sample experienced high levels of loneliness, depressive symptoms, and trauma symptoms. Emotional loneliness explained a greater amount of unique variance in depressive symptoms compared with other significant predictors. Social loneliness did not significantly contribute to the model. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Among consumers of intensive case management services, emotional loneliness is uniquely associated with greater depressive symptoms. Loneliness and depression strongly covary but are distinct concepts that may be targeted conjointly to improve well-being among persons experiencing SMI. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)