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The Relationship between Executive Functions and Interoceptive Awareness in the Elderly with Perceived Feelings of Loneliness

Arpita Roy Choudhury, Susmita Halder

Objectives: Older adults are more vulnerable to perceived feelings of loneliness which may lead to depression, cognitive decline, and an overall decrease in their quality of life. In the present study, the main objective was to compare executive functions and interoceptive awareness between the elderly with and without perceived feelings of loneliness. Methods: In the study, we recruited a sample of 100 study subjects (50 individuals with perceived feelings of loneliness and 50 healthy controls). UCLA 3-Item Loneliness Scale was used as a screening tool for loneliness. Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness, Stroop Test, N Back Test (verbal and visual), and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test were used as measures of interoceptive awareness and executive functioning, respectively. Results: Significant difference was found between both the groups in working memory (p < 0.05) and set shifting ability (p < 0.01). In interoceptive awareness, significant difference was found between both the groups in the domains of significantly high on not distracting (t = 5.723, p < 0.01), significantly less on not worrying (t = 2.028, p < 0.05), significantly less on body listening (t = 2.302, p < 0.05), and significantly less on trusting (t = 4.630, p < 0.01). Conclusion: To understand the possible neuropsychological mechanism of loneliness may help conceptualize a better intervention plan for those with perceived feelings of loneliness to prevent progression to severe psychological problems and cognitive decline.
Key Word older adults, UCLA 3-Item Loneliness Scale, Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness, Wisconsin Card-sorting Test
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