Loneliness and social isolation of ethnic minority/immigrant older adults: a scoping review

Mengxing Joshi*, Nissa Finney, Jo Mhairi Hale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Loneliness and social isolation among older adults are emerging public health concerns. Older adults from ethnic minority communities or with immigration backgrounds may be particularly vulnerable when encountering loneliness and social isolation due to the double jeopardy of their old age and minority status. The goal of this study is to conduct a scoping review of published journal articles on ethnic minority/immigrant older adults' loneliness and social isolation experiences to show the extent, range and nature of empirical studies in this area across several high-income countries (i.e. European countries, United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia and New Zealand). This review uses Arksey and O'Malley's five-state framework, a well-established scoping review method. We identify and analyse 76 articles published between 1983 and 2021. This evidence base is largely US-focused (54%) with the vast majority (76%) having a quantitative design. We summarise and map factors of loneliness and social isolation into a multi-dimensional socio-ecological model. By doing so, we show how ethnicity/immigration-specific factors and general factors intersect in multiple dimensions across places and time, shaping ethnic minority/immigrant older adults' heterogeneous experiences of loneliness and social isolation. Several critical gaps that should be at the forefront of future research are highlighted and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalAgeing & Society
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2024


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