Devising a composite index to analyze and model loneliness and related health risks in the United Kingdom

Laetitia Lucy, Luke Burns

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Objective:This research presents a framework through which a spatial composite index is devised to determine areas of potential loneliness and associated health risks. The research is evidenced on the London borough of Southwark in the United Kingdom but is designed such that it could be applied more widely. Method: The work adopts a quantitative approach through the combination of census and accessibility variables at a small area level. The output is a scoring system whereby each area is assigned a value indicating the likely presence of loneliness and potentially corresponding health risks. Results: Findings imply that loneliness is quantifiable and that this correlates with socioeconomic and accessibility measures. A strong clustering is evident in Southwark. Discussion: This research builds on previous attempts to locate and quantify loneliness with favorable results. The outcome provides a replicable solution to assist the public service with the targeting of areas deemed most at risk from loneliness and resultant mental and physical health conditions at a time when such issues are high on the political agenda.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerontology and Geriatric Medicine
Early online date12 Jun 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jun 2017


  • loneliness
  • population aging
  • composite index
  • spatial analysis


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