The silent epidemic of loneliness: identifying the antecedents of loneliness using a lagged exposure-wide approach.

TitleThe silent epidemic of loneliness: identifying the antecedents of loneliness using a lagged exposure-wide approach.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsHong, JH, Nakamura, JS, Sahakari, SS, Chopik, WJ, Shiba, K, VanderWeele, TJ, Kim, ES
JournalPsychology of Medicine
Pagination1-14
ISSN Number1469-8978
KeywordsHealth behaviors, Loneliness, Older Adults, Physical Health, predictors, Psychosocial factors, Public Health
Abstract

BACKGROUND: A large and accumulating body of evidence shows that loneliness is detrimental for various health and well-being outcomes. However, less is known about potentially modifiable factors that lead to decreased loneliness.

METHODS: We used data from the Health and Retirement Study to prospectively evaluate a wide array of candidate predictors of subsequent loneliness. Importantly, we examined if changes in 69 physical-, behavioral-, and psychosocial-health factors (from ;2006/2008 to ;2010/2012) were associated with subsequent loneliness 4 years later (;2014/2016).

RESULTS: Adjusting for a large range of covariates, changes in certain health behaviors (e.g. increased physical activity), physical health factors (e.g. fewer functioning limitations), psychological factors (e.g. increased purpose in life, decreased depression), and social factors (e.g. greater number of close friends) were associated with less subsequent loneliness.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that subjective ratings of physical and psychological health and perceived social environment (e.g. chronic pain, self-rated health, purpose in life, anxiety, neighborhood cohesion) are more strongly associated with subsequent loneliness. Yet, objective ratings (e.g. specific chronic health conditions, living status) show less evidence of associations with subsequent loneliness. The current study identified potentially modifiable predictors of subsequent loneliness that may be important targets for interventions aimed at reducing loneliness.

DOI10.1017/S0033291723002581
Citation Key13839
PubMed ID38497115