Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality A Meta-Analytic Review
From the article, Perspectives on Psychological Science, March 2015 vol. 10 no. 2 227-237
Several lifestyle and environmental factors are risk factors for early mortality, including smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and air pollution. However, in the scientific literature, much less attention has been given to social factors demonstrated to have equivalent or greater influence on mortality risk (Holt-Lunstad, Smith, & Layton, 2010). Being socially connected is not only influential for psychological and emotional well-being but it also has a significant and positive influence on physical well-being (Uchino, 2006) and overall longevity (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2010; House, Landis, & Umberson, 1988; Shor, Roelfs, & Yogev, 2013). A lack of social connections has also been linked to detrimental health outcomes in previous research. Although the broader protective effect of social relationships is known, in this meta-analytic review, we aim to narrow researchers’ understanding of the evidence in support of increased risk associated with social deficits. Specifically, researchers have assumed that the overall effect of social connections reported previously inversely equates with risk associated with social deficits, but it is presently unclear whether the deleterious effects of social deficits outweigh the salubrious effects of social connections. Currently, no meta-analyses focused on social isolation and loneliness exist in which mortality is the outcome. With efforts underway to identify groups at risk and to intervene to reduce that risk, it is important to understand the relative influence of social isolation and loneliness.
Living alone, having few social network ties, and having infrequent social contact are all markers of social isolation. The common thread across these is an objective quantitative approach to establish a dearth of social contact and network size. Whereas social isolation can be an objectively quantifiable variable, loneliness is a subjective emotional state. Loneliness is the perception of social isolation, or the subjective experience of being lonely, and thus involves necessarily subjective measurement. Loneliness has also been described as the dissatisfaction with the discrepancy between desired and actual social relationships (Peplau & Perlman, 1982).
March 21, 2015 - Posted by Janice Flahiff | Consumer Health, Public Health | death, Loneliness, obesity, Positive psychology, Public health, risk factors, social connections, social deficits, Social isolation
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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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My professional work experience and education includes over 10 years experience as a medical librarian and a Master’s in Library Science. In my most recent position I enjoyed contributing to our library’s blog, performing in depth literature searches, and collaborating with faculty, staff, students, and the general public.
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- 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]
- 2009 Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI) Report Now Available
- Too Many Athletes Warming Up Wrong Says Australilan Sports Scientist
- New study maps hotspots of human-animal infectious diseases and emerging disease outbreaks
- [Reblog With Abortion Infographs] Planned Parenthood Drops the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Labels
- A New Order for CPR, named CAB (Compression-Airway- Breathing)
- Health care hashtags - a social project to organize tweets
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- [Reblog] Healthstyles: Pre-operative Fasting--Too Long?
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