Poster 2: Sosial støtte og ensomhet i Tromsø

Loneliness and lack of social support were more common in younger compared to older adults and more common in men than in women.

Introduction: Social support is to feel love and care, to be appreciated, and to belong to a social network and community, while loneliness is a feeling of longing of contact with others. Loneliness and lack of social support increase the risk of ill health. Social support is defined as both structural (the size of the network, as well as type and frequency of contact: i.e., the existence of relationships) and functional (experience of support from family, friends or neighbours when needed: i.e., if these relationships serve as functions and provide resources).

Aim: To describe sex- and age differences in social support and loneliness in a general Norwegian adult population.

Methods: We compared proportions of social support and loneliness using questionnaire data from the population-based Tromsø Study 2015-2016 (n=21083, 40 years and older, participation 65%) and the Norwegian Counties Public Health Survey Troms and Finnmark 2019 Tromsø municipality sample (n=7072, 18 years and older, participation 49%). Questions included the Oslo-3 Social Support Scale (OSSS-3) (How many people are so close to you that you can count on them if you have great personal problems?, How much interest and concern do people show in what you do?, How easy is it to get practical help from neighbours if you should need it?) and the Three-Item Loneliness Scale (T-ILS) (How often do you feel that you lack companionship?, How often do you feel left out?, How often do you feel isolated from others?) in the Tromsø sample of the county study, and two questions about friends in the Tromsø Study (Do you have enough friends who can give you help when you need it?, Do you have enough friends you can talk confidentially with?).

Results: In the total Tromsø Study, 11% reported not having enough friends who can give help (no sex- or age differences) and 10% of all women and 17% of all men reported not having enough friends to talk confidentially with (no age-differences). In the county survey total Tromsø sample, the feeling of loneliness was 10%, being left out 8% and isolated 7%, with the highest proportions in the youngest age group 18-29 years (17%, 14% and 13%, respectively) and lowest in the oldest age group 70+ years a (4%, 2% and 1%, respectively). In total 34% experienced strong social support, more women than men (36% and 30% respectively), with the lowest social support in the youngest men and women 18-29 years (24% and 29%, respectively).

Conclusions: In the two samples of women and men from the Tromsø municipality, loneliness was more common among younger compared to older age-groups. The youngest adults reported less social support than all other age groups, and more women than men reported strong social support.


Grete Mehus, Gunn Pettersen


De yngre og de eldre - Fellesskap og utenforskap




UiT Norges arktiske universitet



Presenterende forfatter(e):

Laila A. Hopstock

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