This research investigates the quantity and quality of time alone or 'solitude' in the daily lives of older adults. A sample of 92 retired adults carried electronic pagers for 1 week and filled out self-reports on their companionship and internal states in response to signals received at random times. Analysis of the 3,412 reports indicates that those who were unmarried and living alone spent a majority of their waking hours alone and experienced low affect and arousal when in this dominant part of their lives. For the married, solitude was also a major part of daily life, filling 40% of their time, but, although it was related with somewhat lower affect, it was also related with higher arousal. These results suggest that being alone is not a wholley negative experience for this age group, especially for those who have the regular companionship of a spouse.
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