Where are all the lonely people?" A population-based study of high-risk groups across the life span

Mathias Lasgaard, Friis Karina, Shevlin Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BackgroundLoneliness is a prevalent and urgent public health issue. Optimal planning of community approaches to loneliness requires a differentiated understanding of loneliness across the life span. We identified groups at high risk of loneliness by exploring the relationship between loneliness and socio-demographic and health-related factors across multiple age groups.MethodsThis was a combined population-based questionnaire survey and register data study based on a representative sample including 33,285 Danish individuals aged 16-102 years. Loneliness was measured using the Three-Item Loneliness Scale. ResultsThe relation between loneliness and age took a shallow U-shaped distribution. Ethnic minority status, receiving disability pensions or being unemployed, living alone, prolonged mental disorder and psychiatric treatment were strongly associated with severe loneliness. Socio-demographic and health-related factors were associated with an increased risk of severe loneliness in specific age groups. Being female, having a low educational level, and living in a deprived area were only associated with loneliness in adolescence/emerging adulthood. Receiving disability pensions and living alone (i.e., divorced), on the other hand, were strongly associated with loneliness in early and middle adulthood and young-old age. ConclusionEthnic minority status, living alone and prolonged mental disorder may well be key factors in determining the generic level of loneliness in a given population. Other conditions are associated with an increased risk of severe loneliness in specific age groups and may moderate the age-loneliness relation. These findings may help identify populations within communities at risk of loneliness and thereby support the implementation of policies and public health interventions across the life span.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-31
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume53
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Aug 2016

Fingerprint

Loneliness
life-span
age group
mental disorder
pension
adulthood
Population
Group
public health
psychiatric treatment
health
national minority
adolescence
community
minority
Pensions
Age Groups
planning
questionnaire
Mental Disorders

Keywords

  • Loneliness
  • population
  • age
  • health
  • high-risk

Cite this

@article{5f5ffb36cd6b4f8497825f5eec21995f,
title = "Where are all the lonely people?{"} A population-based study of high-risk groups across the life span",
abstract = "BackgroundLoneliness is a prevalent and urgent public health issue. Optimal planning of community approaches to loneliness requires a differentiated understanding of loneliness across the life span. We identified groups at high risk of loneliness by exploring the relationship between loneliness and socio-demographic and health-related factors across multiple age groups.MethodsThis was a combined population-based questionnaire survey and register data study based on a representative sample including 33,285 Danish individuals aged 16-102 years. Loneliness was measured using the Three-Item Loneliness Scale. ResultsThe relation between loneliness and age took a shallow U-shaped distribution. Ethnic minority status, receiving disability pensions or being unemployed, living alone, prolonged mental disorder and psychiatric treatment were strongly associated with severe loneliness. Socio-demographic and health-related factors were associated with an increased risk of severe loneliness in specific age groups. Being female, having a low educational level, and living in a deprived area were only associated with loneliness in adolescence/emerging adulthood. Receiving disability pensions and living alone (i.e., divorced), on the other hand, were strongly associated with loneliness in early and middle adulthood and young-old age. ConclusionEthnic minority status, living alone and prolonged mental disorder may well be key factors in determining the generic level of loneliness in a given population. Other conditions are associated with an increased risk of severe loneliness in specific age groups and may moderate the age-loneliness relation. These findings may help identify populations within communities at risk of loneliness and thereby support the implementation of policies and public health interventions across the life span.",
keywords = "Loneliness, population, age, health, high-risk",
author = "Mathias Lasgaard and Friis Karina and Shevlin Mark",
year = "2016",
month = "8",
day = "13",
language = "English",
volume = "53",
pages = "1--31",
journal = "Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology",
issn = "0933-7954",

}

Where are all the lonely people?" A population-based study of high-risk groups across the life span. / Lasgaard, Mathias; Karina, Friis; Mark, Shevlin.

In: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Vol. 53, 13.08.2016, p. 1-31.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Where are all the lonely people?" A population-based study of high-risk groups across the life span

AU - Lasgaard, Mathias

AU - Karina, Friis

AU - Mark, Shevlin

PY - 2016/8/13

Y1 - 2016/8/13

N2 - BackgroundLoneliness is a prevalent and urgent public health issue. Optimal planning of community approaches to loneliness requires a differentiated understanding of loneliness across the life span. We identified groups at high risk of loneliness by exploring the relationship between loneliness and socio-demographic and health-related factors across multiple age groups.MethodsThis was a combined population-based questionnaire survey and register data study based on a representative sample including 33,285 Danish individuals aged 16-102 years. Loneliness was measured using the Three-Item Loneliness Scale. ResultsThe relation between loneliness and age took a shallow U-shaped distribution. Ethnic minority status, receiving disability pensions or being unemployed, living alone, prolonged mental disorder and psychiatric treatment were strongly associated with severe loneliness. Socio-demographic and health-related factors were associated with an increased risk of severe loneliness in specific age groups. Being female, having a low educational level, and living in a deprived area were only associated with loneliness in adolescence/emerging adulthood. Receiving disability pensions and living alone (i.e., divorced), on the other hand, were strongly associated with loneliness in early and middle adulthood and young-old age. ConclusionEthnic minority status, living alone and prolonged mental disorder may well be key factors in determining the generic level of loneliness in a given population. Other conditions are associated with an increased risk of severe loneliness in specific age groups and may moderate the age-loneliness relation. These findings may help identify populations within communities at risk of loneliness and thereby support the implementation of policies and public health interventions across the life span.

AB - BackgroundLoneliness is a prevalent and urgent public health issue. Optimal planning of community approaches to loneliness requires a differentiated understanding of loneliness across the life span. We identified groups at high risk of loneliness by exploring the relationship between loneliness and socio-demographic and health-related factors across multiple age groups.MethodsThis was a combined population-based questionnaire survey and register data study based on a representative sample including 33,285 Danish individuals aged 16-102 years. Loneliness was measured using the Three-Item Loneliness Scale. ResultsThe relation between loneliness and age took a shallow U-shaped distribution. Ethnic minority status, receiving disability pensions or being unemployed, living alone, prolonged mental disorder and psychiatric treatment were strongly associated with severe loneliness. Socio-demographic and health-related factors were associated with an increased risk of severe loneliness in specific age groups. Being female, having a low educational level, and living in a deprived area were only associated with loneliness in adolescence/emerging adulthood. Receiving disability pensions and living alone (i.e., divorced), on the other hand, were strongly associated with loneliness in early and middle adulthood and young-old age. ConclusionEthnic minority status, living alone and prolonged mental disorder may well be key factors in determining the generic level of loneliness in a given population. Other conditions are associated with an increased risk of severe loneliness in specific age groups and may moderate the age-loneliness relation. These findings may help identify populations within communities at risk of loneliness and thereby support the implementation of policies and public health interventions across the life span.

KW - Loneliness

KW - population

KW - age

KW - health

KW - high-risk

M3 - Article

VL - 53

SP - 1

EP - 31

JO - Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

T2 - Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

JF - Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

SN - 0933-7954

ER -