Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Anne Fish


Roxanne Vandermause

Alicia Hutchings

Nancy Magnuson


There is a need to understand the influences and outcomes related to loneliness in veterans living with complex illness. Patients require self-care to manage complications and exacerbations associated with complex illness. Deficits in self-care result in negative health outcomes and drive resource utilization upward. The identification of potential factors related to self-care is important. Loneliness may be one factor that influences patients’ ability and desire to care for themselves. Descriptive correlational design was used to evaluate loneliness both as a predictor and outcome in veterans admitted to the hospital for three complex respiratory illnesses (heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia). Secondary variables of interest included sociodemographic and clinical characteristics and measures of healthcare utilization. There were no statistically significant findings from this study; yet knowledge generated helped to inform the development of a veteran-centric view of loneliness that may support greater understanding of loneliness in the veteran population. The researcher concluded that the proposed study framework was not supported by the study findings and a revised framework was suggested to guide similar research in the future. Knowledge generated from this study may be used to facilitate future research aimed at decreasing loneliness and increasing self-care leading to improved outcomes in veterans living with complex illness.