Loneliness and depressive symptoms: the moderating role of the transition into retirement

Dikla Segel-Karpas, Liat Ayalon, Margie E. Lachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The transition to retirement implies significant changes in daily routine and in the social environment. More specifically, it requires more self-directed efforts in order to stay socially engaged. Hence, for those who suffer from loneliness, the transition to retirement could result in increased depressive symptoms due to the lack of structured daily routine. Methods: We used two waves of the Health and Retirement Study, and tested whether the transition to retirement between the two waves moderates the effects of loneliness on depressive symptoms. Results: The transition to retirement moderated the effect of loneliness in wave 1 on depressive symptoms in wave 2, such that for those who retired, the effect was stronger in comparison to those who stayed employed. Conclusions: Although many manage to easily transition into retirement, lonely older workers are at increased risk for maladjustment and the experience of depressive symptoms following retirement. This group could perhaps benefit from interventions aimed at increasing daily social interactions and establishing a socially satisfying routine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • Loneliness
  • depressive symptoms
  • retirement

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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