This paper explores the relationships between environmental
features, civic engagement and feelings of loneliness.
It raises the question of how neighborhoods and municipalities
promote or hinder feelings of loneliness. Data for
the research are derived from the Belgian Ageing Studies, a
structured survey among community-dwelling older people
(n= 28 094, in 83 municipalities. We conducted multivariate
regression models which included environmental factors
(degree of urbanization, neighborhood connectedness and
satisfaction, quantity and quality of contact with neighbors)
and civic engagement (personal leisure, civic participation,
informal help, community leisure, and volunteer work) on
feelings of loneliness (social and emotional loneliness). The
results indicate that feeling connected to the neighborhood,
having qualitative contact with neighbors, and doing volunteer
work or particicipate in an association lowers feelings
of social loneliness. The conclusion raises practical implications
and formulates a number of policy recommendations
to tackle feelings of loneliness in an aging society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2017
Event21st International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress - San Fransisco, United States
Duration: 23 Jul 201727 Jul 2017


  • Loneliness
  • older people
  • aging
  • civic engagement
  • Urbanization


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