Loneliness, social isolation, and chronic disease outcomes

J Christiansen, R Lund, P Qualter, C M Andersen, S S Pedersen, M Lasgaard

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Abstract

Research suggests that loneliness and social isolation are serious public health concerns. However, our knowledge of the associations of loneliness and social isolation with specific chronic diseases is limited. The present prospective cohort study investigated (a) the longitudinal associations of loneliness and social isolation with four chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease [CVD], chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], diabetes mellitus Type 2 [T2D], and cancer), (b) the synergistic association of loneliness and social isolation with chronic disease, and (c) baseline psychological and behavioral explanatory factors.Self-reported data from the 2013 Danish “How are you?” survey (N = 24,607) were combined with individual-level data from the National Danish Patient Registry on diagnoses in a 5 year follow-up period (2013-2018).Cox proportional hazard regression analyses showed that loneliness and social isolation were independently associated with CVD (loneliness: adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) = 1.20, 95\CI; 1.03, 1.40]; SI: AHR = 1.23, 95\1.04, 146]) and T2D (loneliness: AHR =1.90, 95\1.42, 2.55]; SI: AHR = 1.59, 95\1.15, 2.21]). No significant associations were found between loneliness or social isolation and COPD and cancer, respectively. Likewise, loneliness and social isolation did not demonstrate a synergistic effect on chronic disease. Multiple mediation analysis indicated that loneliness and social isolation had an indirect effect on CVD and T2D through both baseline psychological and behavioral factors.Loneliness and social isolation were independently associated with a diagnosis of CVD and T2D within a 5 year follow-up period. The associations of loneliness and social isolation with CVD and T2D were fully explained by baseline psychological and behavioral factors.Individuals exposed to loneliness and social isolation constitute vulnerable groups in risk of chronic disease.Psychological and behavioural factors explain the associations with chronic disease.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Article numberckaa166.1045
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Volume30
Issue numberSuppl. 5
Number of pages1
ISSN1101-1262
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020
Event16th World Congress on Public Health: Public health for the future of humanity: analysis, advocacy and action - Online
Duration: 12. Oct 202016. Oct 2020

Conference

Conference16th World Congress on Public Health
LocationOnline
Period12/10/202016/10/2020

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