Loneliness and dementia in context

Published:March 16, 2023DOI:
      A recent exhibition of Edward Hopper's work presents viewers with compelling images of human solitude, introspection, and subtle emotion that have new resonance in the Covid-19 pandemic era (

      Edward Hopper's New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, New York, USA, 2022-2023

      ). In his 1952 drawing, Study for Morning Sun, we recognize signs of distress in a solitary female figure but have no context to understand the circumstances of her isolation or its personal toll (Figure 1) (

      Hopper E: Study for Morning Sun, 1952

      FIGURE 1:
      FIGURE 1Edward Hopper, Study for Morning Sun, 1952
      Edward Hopper, Study for Morning Sun, 1952. Fabricated chalk on paper. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. CREDIT: © 2023 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Edward Hopper's New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, New York, USA, 2022-2023

      2. Hopper E: Study for Morning Sun, 1952

        • National Academies of Sciences E
        Medicine: Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults: Opportunities for the Health Care System.
        The National Academies Press, Washington, DC2020
        • Li Y
        • Wang X
        • Guo L
        • et al.
        Eight-Year Trajectories of Late-Life Loneliness and Incident Dementia: A Nationally Representative Cohort Study.
        Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2022;
        • Spithoven AWM
        • Cacioppo S
        • Goossens L
        • et al.
        Genetic Contributions to Loneliness and Their Relevance to the Evolutionary Theory of Loneliness.
        Perspectives on Psychological Science. 2019; 14: 376-396
        • Mund M
        • Freuding MM
        • Möbius K
        • et al.
        The Stability and Change of Loneliness Across the Life Span: A Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies.
        Personality and Social Psychology Review. 2020; 24: 24-52
        • Biddle KD
        • d'Oleire Uquillas F
        • Jacobs HIL
        • et al.
        Social Engagement and Amyloid-β-Related Cognitive Decline in Cognitively Normal Older Adults.
        Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2019; 27: 1247-1256
        • Wilson RS
        • Krueger KR
        • Arnold SE
        • et al.
        Loneliness and risk of Alzheimer disease.
        Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007; 64: 234-240
        • Shankar A
        • Hamer M
        • McMunn A
        • et al.
        Social isolation and loneliness: relationships with cognitive function during 4 years of follow-up in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
        Psychosom Med. 2013; 75: 161-170
        • Salinas J
        • Beiser AS
        • Samra JK
        • et al.
        Association of Loneliness With 10-Year Dementia Risk and Early Markers of Vulnerability for Neurocognitive Decline.
        Neurology. 2022; 98: e1337-e1348
        • Sutin AR
        • Stephan Y
        • Luchetti M
        • et al.
        Loneliness and Risk of Dementia.
        The Journals of Gerontology: Series B. 2018; 75: 1414-1422
        • Perissinotto CM
        • Stijacic Cenzer I
        • Covinsky KE
        Loneliness in older persons: a predictor of functional decline and death.
        Arch Intern Med. 2012; 172: 1078-1083
        • Akhter-Khan SC
        • Tao Q
        • Ang TFA
        • et al.
        Associations of loneliness with risk of Alzheimer's disease dementia in the Framingham Heart Study.
        Alzheimers Dement. 2021; 17: 1619-1627
        • Pepin R
        • Stevens CJ
        • Choi NG
        • et al.
        Modifying Behavioral Activation to Reduce Social Isolation and Loneliness Among Older Adults.
        Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2021; 29: 761-770
        • Van Orden KA
        • Bower E
        • Lutz J
        • et al.
        Strategies to Promote Social Connections Among Older Adults During "Social Distancing" Restrictions.
        Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2021; 29: 816-827
      3. Hopper E: Morning Sun, 1952