The association between loneliness and health - a survey-based study among middle-aged and older adults in Denmark

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BACKGROUND: While the association between overall poor health and loneliness among older adults continues to be examined closely, less attention has been given to middle-aged adults. This paper examines the relationship between loneliness and health as measured by self-rated health, physical ability and multi-morbidity in a large sample of Danish adults between the ages of 52-92 years. Furthermore, it identifies vulnerable groups with regard to the year of birth and gender.

METHOD: We apply the survey-study method, using data collected by The Danish National Centre for Social Research in 2012. We analysed the association between loneliness and health in 9154 Danish adults through multi-variate regression analyses adjusting for the year of birth, gender, marital status, cohabitation status, employment status and home ownership.

RESULTS: We found that loneliness was associated with increased risks of poor self-rated health (OR, 2.58; 95% Cl, 1.20-3.35), limited physical abilities (OR, 1.91; 95% Cl, 1.58-2.32) and multiple diagnoses (OR, 1.77; 95% Cl, 1.48-2.12). Lonely middle-aged adults (52-62 years of age) had an increased risk of having limited physical abilities.

CONCLUSION: Among middle-aged and older Danish adults, loneliness was strongly associated with poor self-rated health, limited physical ability and multi-morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging & Mental Health
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1338-1343
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 183220292