Childlessness and Loneliness in Middle and Later Life

Margaret Penning , University of Victoria
Zheng Wu, University of Victoria

This study addressed the implications of childlessness for feelings of loneliness in middle and later life, including a focus on whether there is differential vulnerability to the adverse implications associated with age, gender, and marital status. Using data from the 2012 General Social Survey (GSS-26, Statistics Canada, 2012), we estimated two-stage probit and least squares regression models of loneliness for a nationally representative sample of adults aged respondents aged 45 or older (N = 16,071). Our analyses revealed the importance of having children for mitigating feelings of loneliness in the middle and later years of life. They also revealed the more negative impact of childlessness among those in the oldest age group. The findings attest to the importance of acknowledging age group differences for an understanding of the implications of childlessness for loneliness.

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 Presented in Session 179. Aging Alone and Well-being