In the present study, we intended to examine the temporal association between loneliness and depression among community-based older adults. We analyzed data on 3,920 persons with a mean age of 67.6 years at baseline from the Taiwan Longitudinal Study on Aging. Structural equation modeling was used to investigate the temporal association between loneliness and depression over a period of 14 years. The results showed that the temporal association between loneliness and depression was bidirectional but stronger and more robust for depression as the initial symptom. Loneliness at Time 1 and 3, respectively, significantly predicted depression at Time 2 and 4. Depression at each time point had a significant effect on subsequent loneliness, even considering covariates. Future prevention programs for older adults with depression should also target at dealing with their loneliness, and vice versa. This study also highlights the need to assess and to manage the two symptoms simultaneously.
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