Patterns of Sexual Activities in Older Adults and Their Prospective Associations with Loneliness: Results from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) (78852)

Session Information:

Session: On Demand
Room: Virtual Poster Presentation
Presentation Type: Virtual Poster Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

While loneliness is prevalent among older adults, how their engagement in sexual activities, such as sexual intercourse and masturbation, contributes to its development is unclear. Using data from Waves 6 and 7 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), this study examined how sexual activities in old age were patterned and how these patterns were associated with changes in loneliness in older adults. Data on engagement in sexual activities (i.e., sexual intercourse, masturbation and other sexual activities such as petting) in the past month at baseline (Wave 6) was extracted for latent class analysis to identify the patterns of sexual activities. Loneliness was assessed with the 3-item UCLA Loneliness Scale at baseline and three-year follow-up (Wave 7). Using multiple linear regression, loneliness score at follow-up was predicted against the identified latent classes, adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, income, marital status, activities of daily living, number of chronic diseases and loneliness at baseline. The final sample consisted of 4446 participants (54.0% female, mean age= 69.6 (SD= 7.00)). We identified three patterns of sexual activities: ‘sexually inactive’ (55.8%), ‘masturbation dominant’ (22.7%), and ‘partnered sexual activities dominant’ (21.6%). Compared to the ‘sexually inactive’ group, decreases in loneliness score at follow-up were reported in the ‘masturbation dominant’ (β = -0.11, p = 0.010) and ‘partnered sexual activities dominant’ groups (β = -0.17, p < .001). Our findings suggested engagement in sexual activities in old age may reduce loneliness over time and raise public awareness of the role of sexual health in mitigating loneliness.

Irene Yuk Ying Ho, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Anson Kai Chun Chau, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Gary Ka-Ki Chung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

About the Presenter(s)
Irene Yuk Ying Ho, a research assistant at the CUHK Institute of Health Equity, holds a Statistics degree from CUHK. She contributed to a study on social isolation’s impact on older people and projected healthy life expectancy in Hong Kong.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00