Do partnership dissolutions and living alone affect systemic chronic inflammation? A cohort study of Danish adults

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Background Partnership breakups and living alone are associated with several adverse health outcomes. The aim of this study, carried out in Denmark, is to investigate whether accumulated numbers of divorces/partnership breakups or years lived alone across 26 years of adult life are associated with levels of inflammation, and if vulnerability with regards to gender or educational level can be identified. Methods 4835 participants from the Copenhagen Aging and Midlife Biobank (CAMB) aged 48-62 years were included. Data on accumulated numbers of partnership breakups and years living alone were retrieved from a national standardised annual register. Inflammatory markers interleukin 6 (IL-6) and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) were measured in blood samples. Multivariate linear regression analyses were adjusted for age, educational level, early major life events, body mass index, chronic diseases, medicinal intake affecting inflammation, acute inflammation and personality scores. Results For men, an association was found between an increasing number of partnership breakups or number of years living alone and higher levels of inflammatory markers. No such association was found for women, and no evidence of partnership breakups and educational level having a joint effect was found for either gender. Conclusion The findings suggest a strong association between years lived alone or accumulated number of partnership breakups and low-grade inflammation for middle-aged men, but not for women. Among those of either sex with a lower level of education, no specific vulnerability to accumulated years lived alone or number of breakups was identified.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)490–496
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Marital status, life course epidemiology, immunosenescence, C-reactive protein, divorce, MARITAL BIOGRAPHY, DIVORCE, MORTALITY, HEALTH, GENDER, LIFE, TRAJECTORIES, METAANALYSIS, EDUCATION, MARRIAGE

ID: 299390247