The association of loneliness and social isolation with healthcare utilization in Denmark

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  • J. Christensen
  • S. S. Pedersen
  • C. M. Andersen
  • P. Qualter
  • Lund, Rikke
  • M. Lasgaard
The present prospective cohort study investigated the association of loneliness and social isolation (SI) with healthcare utilization (HCU) in the general population over time.

Data from the 2013 Danish “How are you?’ survey (n = 29,472) were combined with individual-level register data from the National Danish Patient Registry and the Danish National Health Service Registry over a 6-year follow-up period (2013-2018). Negative binomial regression analyses were performed while adjusting for baseline demographics and chronic disease.

Loneliness measured at baseline was significantly associated with more GP contacts (incident-rate ratio (IRR) = 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.02, 1.04]), more emergency treatments (IRR = 1.06, 95% CI [1.03, 1.10]), more emergency admissions (IRR = 1.06, 95% CI [1.03, 1.06]), and hospital admission days (IRR=1.05, 95% CI [1.00, 1.11]) across the 6-year follow-up period. No significant associations were found between social isolation and HCU with one minor exception, in which SI was associated with fewer planned outpatient treatments (IRR = .97, 95% CI [.94, .99]).

Our findings suggest that loneliness is a risk factor for certain types of HCU, independent of social isolation, baseline demographics, and chronic disease.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numberSupplement 3
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 339852559