LSN/LASA filenames:
LSNa073, LSNg073, LSNi073;
LASAB073, LASAC073, LASAD073, LASAE073, LAS2B073, LASAF073, LASAG073, LASAH073, LAS3B073, LASMB073, LASAI073, LASAJ073, LASAK073;
LASAdc25, LASAel01;
LASet606, LASet706;
LASAC606 , LASAD606, LASAE606;
LASAge73, LSNa273, LSNg273, LSNi273;
LASAB273, LASAC273, LASAD273, LASAE273, LAS2B273, LASAF273, LASAG273, LASAH273, LAS3B273, LASMB273, LASAI273, LASAJ273;
LASAB025, LASAC025, LASAD025, LASAE025, LAS2B025, LASAF025, LASAG025, LASAH025, LAS3B025, LASMB025, LASAI025, LASAJ025;
LASAbd20, LASAcdw1, LASAcdw2, LASAcdw3, LASAcdw4, LASAcdw5

Contact: Theo van Tilburg


The conceptualization of loneliness drew upon the cognitive approach to loneliness. In this approach, loneliness is seen as a subjective experience and is, as such, not directly related to situational factors. Loneliness, or subjective social isolation, is defined as a situation experienced by the participant as one where there is an unpleasant or inadmissible lack of (quality of) certain relationships. The importance of social perceptions and evaluations of one’s personal relationships is emphasized. Loneliness includes situations where the number of existing relationships is smaller than desirable or acceptable, as well as situations where the intimacy wished for has not been realized (De Jong Gierveld, 1998).
An 11-item unidimensional scale was developed, which (1) assessed severe feelings of loneliness as well as less intense loneliness feelings; (2) consisted of negative as well as positive items; and (3) represented a latent continuum of deprivation. In addition, the scale met the criteria of the dichotomous logistic Rasch model (De Jong Gierveld & Kamphuis, 1985).

Two components of loneliness can be distinguished. Emotional loneliness relates to the absence of an intimate relationship (partner, best friend), and social loneliness relates to the absence of a broader, engaging social network (siblings, cousins, friends, and neighbors). Emotional loneliness arises, for example, when a partner relationship dissolves through divorce or being widowed, and is characterized by intense feelings of emptiness, abandonment, and forlornness. People who have moved to a place where they are newcomers frequently report social loneliness.

In addition to the item-scale direct questions to loneliness have been included.

Measurement instruments in LASA

11-item scale De Jong Gierveld

1 There is always someone I can talk to about my day-to-day
Er is altijd wel iemand in mijn omgeving bij wie ik met mijn
dagelijkse probleempjes terecht kan
2 I miss having a really close friend Ik mis een echt goede vriend of vriendin
3 I experience a general sense of emptiness Ik ervaar een leegte om me heen
4 There are plenty of people I can lean on when I have problems Er zijn genoeg mensen op wie ik in geval van narigheid kan
5 I miss the pleasure of the company of others Ik mis gezelligheid om me heen
6 I find my circle of friends and acquaintances too limited Ik vind mijn kring van kennissen te beperkt
7 There are many people I can trust completely Ik heb veel mensen op wie ik volledig kan vertrouwen
8 There are enough people I feel close to Er zijn voldoende mensen met wie ik me nauw verbonden voel
9 I miss having people around Ik mis mensen om me heen
10 I often feel rejected Vaak voel ik me in de steek gelaten
11 I can call on my friends whenever I need them Wanneer ik daar behoefte aan heb kan ik altijd bij mijn vrienden

Possible answers are “yes”, “more or less”, “no” (“ja”, “min-of-meer”, “nee”).

Direct questions

  • I sometimes feel lonely.
    Ik voel me soms wel eens eenzaam.
  • If we divide people in: the not lonely, the moderately lonely, the severely lonely, and the extremely lonely, what would you consider yourself to be?
    Als we de mensen zouden indelen in niet eenzaam, matig eenzaam, sterk eenzaam en zeer sterk eenzaam, waar zoudt u zich dan nu toe rekenen?
  • The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) includes an item on loneliness: “During the past week I felt lonely” (“De afgelopen week voelde ik me eenzaam”), with answering possibilities (1) “rarely or never”, (2) “sometimes”, (3) “occasionally” and (4) “mostly or always” (CESD14).


LASAB073 / LASAC073 / LASAD073 / LASAE073 / LAS2B073 / LASAF073 /
LASAG073 / LASAH073 / LAS3B073 / LASMB073 / LASAI073 / LASAJ073 (main interview, in Dutch);
LASAH712 / LASAI712 / LASAJ712 (telephone interview with respondent, in Dutch);
LASAJ173 (telephone interview with respondent, in Dutch);

Interim measurement:

LASEs816 (self-admin. questionnaire, in Dutch)

Variable information

LASAB073 / LASAC073 / LASAD073 / LASAE073 / LAS2B073 / LASAF073 /
LASAG073 / LASAH073 / LAS3B073 / LASMB073 / LASAI073 / LASAJ073;
LASAB273 / LASAC273 / LASAD273 / LASAE273 / LAS2B273 / LASAF273 /
LASAG273 / LASAH273 / LAS3B273 / LASMB273 / LASAI273 / LASAJ273 (scale scores)
LASAH712 / LASAI712 / LASAJ712

Interim measurement:


Note: for LASA*025, LASA*606, LASA*706 see documentation on: Depressive symptoms.

Availability of information per observation


11-item scale

6-item scale

Sometimes feel lonely


Last week lonely**

Existential loneliness


¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* A=Living arrangements and social networks of older adults (LSN);
2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort;
K=not available yet

** see documentation on Depressive symptoms.

in C also with Respondent

Ma=data collected in main interview;
Me=data collected in medical interview;
Sa=data collected in self-administered questionnaire;
Tr=data collected in telephone interview with respondent;
Tp=data collected in telephone interview with proxy


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  2. Pronk, M., Deeg, D.J.H., Smits, C., Twisk, J., Van Tilburg, T.G., Festen, J.M., & Kramer, S.E. (2014). Hearing loss in older persons: Does the rate of decline affect psychosocial health? Journal of Aging and Health.
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Date of last update: July, 2014