Predictors of Psychological Distress among Old Aged


  • Kavery B. J. M.Phil. Learning Disabilities, Department of Psychology, University of Kerala, India
  • Manikandan K. Department of Psychology, University of Calicut, Kerala, India



psychological distress, loneliness, social support, religiosity, old age


Psychological distress is linked with the lack of social support and loneliness. The Elderly is suffering from many psychological issues and a lack of social support. Often, in old age homes, the lack of immediate friends and family leads them to many issues like loneliness, which affects their mental health. So it is essential to address this issue to provide care and support them. This study aimed to understand the contributing factors of psychological distress and influencing factors of psychological distress, loneliness, religiosity, and social support. The study was conducted on 159 older people (age range 60-90 years) of Thrissur and its neighboring places by employing a convenient sampling technique. The psychological distress scale was used to measure psychological distress The UCLA Loneliness Scale, Perceived Social Support Scale, and Religiosity Scale were used to measure loneliness, perceived social support, and religiosity, respectively. Personal details of the participants, such as age, sex, socio-economic status, marital status, etc., were collected using a personal data sheet. Results revealed that the loneliness and support from the family were highly contributing to predictors of psychological distress, and loneliness and support from friends contributed to depression. Males and females differ on psychological distress and its components, namely anxiety and depression. Moreover, males and females experienced similar religiosity and stress levels, and females experienced higher levels of loneliness than males. As a result of lower support from family, friends, and special person and overall perceived social support, there occurs a higher level of depression. Psychological distress will be high when there is lower social support from family, friends, and special people. Also, when there is greater psychological distress, there will be high loneliness. Older persons will have high religiosity when there is high loneliness. Stress and depression differ between people living in old age homes and Pakal Veedu. Reduction in loneliness occurs when there is a presence of a special person in their life.


Download data is not yet available.


Adams, K. B., Sanders, S., & Auth, E. A. (2004). Loneliness and depression in independent living retirement communities: Risk and resilience factors. Aging & Mental Health, 8(6), 475-485.

Atkins, J., Naismith, S. L., Luscombe, G. M., & Hickie, I. B. (2013). Psychological distress and quality of life in olderpersons: Relative contributions of fixed and modifiable risk factors. BMC Psychiatry,13, 249.

Choi, N. G., Ransom, S., & Wyllie, R. J. (2008). Depression in older nursing home residents: The influence of nursing home environmental stressors, coping, and acceptance of group and individual therapy. Aging and Mental Health, 12(5), 536-547.

Chokkanathan, S. (2013). Religiosity and wellbeing of older adults in Chennai, India. Aging & Mental Health, 17(7), 880-887.

Couture, M., Lariviere, N., & Lefrançois, R. (2005). Psychological distress in older adults with low functional independence:A multidimensional perspective. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 41(1), 101-111.

Dahlberg, L., & McKee, K. J. (2014). Correlates of social and emotional loneliness in older people: Evidence from an English community study. Aging and Mental Health, 18(4), 504–514.

Dezutter, J., Soenens, B., & Hutsebaut, D. (2006). Religiosity and mental health: A further exploration of the relative importance of religious behaviors vs. religious attitudes. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(4), 807–818.

Djukanović, I., Sorjonen, K., & Peterson, U. (2015). Association between depressive symptoms and age, sex, loneliness and treatment among older people in Sweden. Aging and Mental Health, 19(6), 560–568.

Dollete, M., Steese, S., Phillips, W., & Matthews, G. (2004). Understanding girls’ circle as an intervention on perceived social support, body image, self-efficacy, locus of control and selfesteem. The Journal of Psychology, 90(2), 204–215.

Falcón, L. M., Todorova, I., & Tucker, K. (2009). Social support, life events, and psychological distress among the Puerto Rican population in the boston area of the united states. Aging and Mental Health, 13(6), 863–873.

Ferreira-Alves, J., Magalhães, P., Viola, L., & Simoes, R. (2014). Loneliness in middle and old age: Demographics, perceived health, and social satisfaction as predictors. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 59(3), 613–623.

George, T. (2009). Adjustment in old age: A comparative study. Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit.

Gonyea, J. G., & Bachman, S. S. (2008). Correlates of psychological distress among older residents of urban public housing. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 13(2–3), 243–260.

Hurlock, E. B. (1981). Developmental psychology a life span approach. Tata McGraw Hill Education Private Limited.

Jabin, F. (2016). Loneliness and depression among old aged people. International Journal of Indian Psychology, 3(4), 137–146.

Kaur, H. (2011). Life satisfaction of the elderly in relation to perceived stress: the role of positive Affect. Punjabi University Patiala.

Kaur, S. (2014). Effect of religiosity on ways of coping and wellbeing: A comparative study of senior citizens living with family and in old age homes. Guru Nanak Dev University.

Lyyra, T. M., & Heikkinen, R. L. (2006). Perceived social support and mortality in older people. Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61(3), S147–S152.

Mabitsela, L. (2003). Exploratory study of psychological distress as understood by pentecostal Pastors. University of Pretoria.

Maheswari, K. (2010). Activity and quality of life among older persons in Salem district, Tamil nadu. Bharathidasan University.

Matt, G. E., & Dean, A. (1993). Social support from friends and psychological distress among elderly persons: Moderator effects of age. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 34(3), 187–200.

Medvene, L. J., Nilsen, K. M., Smith, R., Ofei-Dodoo, S., DiLollo, A., Webster, N., Graham, A., & Nance, A. (2016). Social networks and links to isolation and loneliness among elderly HCBS clients. Aging and Mental Health, 20(5), 485–493.

Park, N. S., Jang, Y., Lee, B. S., & Chiriboga, D. A. (2017). The relation between living alone and depressive symptoms in older Korean Americans: Do feelings of loneliness mediate? Aging and Mental Health, 21(3), 304–312.

Patil, B., Pinto, C., Shah, H., Shetty, N., Subramanyam, A., & Kamath, R. (2014). Study of perceived and received social support in elderly depressed patients. Journal of Geriatric Mental Health, 1(1).

Patil, S., & Itagi, S. (2013). Distress status among institutionalized and non-institutionalized senior citizens. Journal of Agricultural Science, 26(2), 295–298.

Patil, S., & Itagi, S. (2014). Factors influencing distress among senior citizens. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 19(1), 04–06.

Paul, C., Ayis, S., & Ebrahim, S. (2006). Psychological distress, loneliness and disability in old age. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 11(2), 221–232.

Pengpid, S., & Peltzer, K. (2022). Prevalence and correlates of major depressive disorder among a national sample of middle-aged and older adults in India. Aging and Mental Health, 1–6.

Pettigrew, S., & Roberts, M. (2008). Addressing loneliness in later life. Aging and Mental Health, 12(3), 302–309.

Pinquart, M., & Sorensen, S. (2001). Influences on loneliness in older adults: A meta-analysis. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 23(4), 245–266.

Ridner, S. H. (2004). Psychological distress: Concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 45(5), 536–545. 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02938.x.

Roh, S., Burnette, C. E., Lee, K. H., Lee, Y. S., Easton, S. D., & Lawler, M. J. (2015). Risk and protective factors for depressive symptoms among American Indian older adults: Adverse childhood experiences and social support. Aging and Mental Health, 19(4), 371–380.

Saheera, K. T., & Manikandan, K. (2015). Psychological distress of young adults in relation to certain demographic variables. International Journal of Indian Psychology, 3(1), 41–50.

Singh, B., & Kiran, U. V. (2013). Loneliness among elderly women. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention, 2(1), 10–14.

Streib, G., & Schneider, C. (1971). Retirement in American society: Impact and process. Cornell University Press.

Thygesen, E., Saevareid, H. I., Lindstrom, T. C., & Engedal, K. (2009). Psychological distress and its correlates in older care-dependent persons living at home. Aging and Mental Health, 13(3), 319–327.

Van Ours, J. C. (2021). What a drag it is getting old? Mental health and loneliness beyond age 50. Applied Economics, 53(31), 3563–3576.

Vijayshri. (2013). A study of depression in relation to loneliness, optimism and life satisfaction. Aligarh Muslim University.

Weiss, R. S. (1973). Loneliness: The experience of emotional and social isolation. The MIT Press.

Winningham, R. G., & Pike, N. L. (2007). A cognitive intervention to enhance institutionalized older adults’ social support networks and decrease loneliness. Aging and Mental Health, 11(6), 716–721.

Zebhauser, A., Baumert, J., Emeny, R. T., Ronel, J., Peters, A., & Ladwig, K. H. (2015). What prevents old people living alone from feeling lonely? Findings from the KORA-Age-study. Aging and Mental Health, 19(9), 773–780.



How to Cite

B. J., K., & K., M. (2022). Predictors of Psychological Distress among Old Aged. Innovare Journal of Education, 10(3), 24–33.



Research Article(s)