[ Press release] Does illness make people lonely?
From the 11 February 2015 Concordia University press release
Concordia University study has discovered a new link between chronic disease and social isolation
Montreal, February 11, 2015 — Difficult circumstances often bring people closer together. But a new Concordia study published in Health Psychology has found that the onset of chronic illness often results in sufferers feeling lonelier — even for those who have had a steady partner for 50 years or more.
Researchers at the Personality, Aging, and Health Lab at Concordia took on the study because they found that, while plenty of research examined the effect of loneliness on illness, there was a lack of empirical evidence about whether or not illness contributes to loneliness.
“We were surprised by the amount of literature that examined whether people who are lonely are more likely to get sick,” says Meaghan Barlow, the study’s first author. “Yet none of them asked the opposite question: ‘Do sick people get lonely?’”
The new study reveals that they often do when they advance in age, and that it happens regardless of being in a long-term relationship when faced with a bleak diagnosis. “The quality of our social ties plays a role when it comes to coping with the effects of serious disease in later life. And just having a partner around may not be enough,” Barlow says.
“Putting a halt to socializing only contributes to a downward spiral,” Barlow says. “Dealing with a chronic illness shouldn’t prevent you from still trying to get out there if you can.”
Naturally, the challenge for society is to help an aging population find motivation to stay engaged, which means recognizing that the psychological side effects of disease can be offset with an increase in inspiring activity.
“The fact that loneliness can lead to further complications means that measures can be taken to prevent the effects from looping back around,” Barlow says. “Finding different ways to connect with other people also means you are less likely to blame yourself for being sick, and you can’t count on a partner to fill that gap.”
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This blog presents a sampling of health and medical news and resources for all. Selected articles and resources will hopefully be of general interest but will also encourage further reading through posted references and other links. Currently I am focusing on public health, basic and applied research and very broadly on disease and healthy lifestyle topics.
Several times a month I will post items on international and global health issues. My Peace Corps Liberia experience (1980-81) has formed me as a global citizen in many ways and has challenged me to think of health and other topics in a more holistic manner. (For those wishing to see pictures of a 2009 Friends of Liberia service trip to this West African country, please visit www.fol.org. My photo album is included).
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- Scout Report, a “weekly publication offering a selection of new and newly discovered Internet resources of interest to researchers and educators”
- Latest from Brookings Institute, independent research reports on social and political issues
- KevinMD.com -“Social Media’s leading physician voice”
- EurekAlert-Medicine and Health
- FTC sanctions yet another digital health product, a vision training app, over claims about effectiveness [Reblog]
- St. Louis Plan4Health Traffic Calming Demonstrations [YouTube]
- Made ya look: Moviegoers may have little control over their eye movements during Hollywood-style films, study finds [news release]
- Articles focus on OTC medications, dietary supplements & complementary/alternative medicine
- The Invisible World of Human Perception [news release]
- Do Cell Phones Make Us Less Socially Minded?
- New study maps hotspots of human-animal infectious diseases and emerging disease outbreaks
- (Obama Administration) Partnerships for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs
- [Reblog] Real Food – Good, Better, Best Principle
- [News release] Are temper, anxiety, homework trouble medical issues? Many parents don’t realize it
- Database of Promoting Health Effectiveness Reviews (DoPHER)
- New USDA Dietary Guidelines (released January 31, 2011)
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