The Effect of Self-Help Groups on Loneliness in Elderly People with Chronic Diseases


  • Warakun Boontam
  • Waree Kangchai
  • Chommanard Sumngern


Objective: To study the effects of self-help groups on loneliness in elderly people with chronic diseases. Method: In this quasi- experimental research, we recruited 24 Thai elderly people whose ages were 60 to 79 years, both men and women, and diagnosed with hypertension and/or diabetes, with medium to high levels of loneliness. The subjects were recruited from the medicine out-patient department in Burapha University hospital, Chonburi. Twelve patients were randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups equally. The sample in the experimental group joined the self-help group session while the control group received routine care. Data were collected from both groups at pre-test, post-test and a two-week follow-up, using the Loneliness Scale with an acceptable reliability (Cronbach’s alpha of 0.87). Data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics and a repeated measures analysis of variance with a one between- and one within-subject variable, and Bonferroni’s adjustment for multiple comparisons. Results: The average score of loneliness in the experimental group was significantly improved over time, and different from the control group (P < 0.001) at the post-test and follow-up. The loneliness at follow-up in the experimental group was not significantly different from that at post-test. There were significant interactions between the intervention method and time on the average score of loneliness (P < 0.001). Conclusion: This self-help groups could decrease loneliness in the elderly with chronic diseases. Nurses and health professionals should implement self-help groups to reduce loneliness among elderly with chronic diseases.Keywords: elderly, chronic diseases, self-help group, loneliness


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