Social Isolation Profiles and Older Adult Substance Use: A Latent Profile Analysis

Antoinette Y. Farmer, Yuqi Wang, N. Andrew Peterson, Suzanne Borys, Donald K. Hallcom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine substance use among older adults based upon their social isolation and loneliness profiles. Methods: Data were derived from the New Jersey Older Adult Survey on Drug Use and Health. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to determine the profiles of older adults (N = 801) based on 5 dimensions of social isolation and loneliness. Logistic and generalized ordered logistic regressions were conducted to assess the relationship between the latent profiles and substance use. Results: LPA identified 5 social isolation/loneliness profiles. The "connected and active"group had the lowest odds of cigarette use. The "alone but not lonely"group had the highest odds of cigarette use, alcohol use, and high-risk drinking. The "alone and lonely"group had the highest odds of nonmedical drug use. Discussion: In working with older adults who are using substances, it is important to inquire about their social isolation and loneliness. Cognitive behavioral therapy for the "alone and lonely"group may be beneficial, as it has been deemed effective in reducing loneliness and enhancing social networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-929
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


  • Alone and lonely
  • Drinking
  • Nonmedical drug use
  • Smoking
  • Social participation


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