Loneliness, Dementia Status, and Their Association with All-Cause Mortality Among Older US Adults.

TitleLoneliness, Dementia Status, and Their Association with All-Cause Mortality Among Older US Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsGeorgescu, MF, Beydoun, MA, Ashe, J, Vieytes, CAMaino, Beydoun, HA, Evans, MK, Zonderman, AB
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease: JAD
ISSN Number1875-8908
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and over, Dementia, Female, Humans, Loneliness, Male, Mortality, Proportional Hazards Models, Risk Factors, United States

BACKGROUND: Loneliness, dementia, and mortality are interconnected.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed at understanding mediating pathways and interactions between loneliness and dementia in relation to mortality risk.

METHODS: The study tested bi-directional relationships between dementia, loneliness, and mortality, by examining both interactions and mediating effects in a large sample of older US adults participating in the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study. Out of≤6,468 older participants selected in 2010, with mean baseline age of 78.3 years and a follow-up time up to the end of 2020, 3,298 died at a rate of 64 per 1,000 person-years (P-Y). Cox proportional hazards and four-way decomposition models were used.

RESULTS: Algorithmically defined dementia status (yes versus no) was consistently linked with a more than two-fold increase in mortality risk. Dementia status and Ln(odds of dementia) were strongly related with mortality risk across tertiles of loneliness score. Loneliness z-score was also linked to an elevated risk of all-cause mortality regardless of age, sex, or race or ethnicity, and its total effect (TE) on mortality was partially mediated by Ln(odds of dementia), z-scored, (≤40% of the TE was a pure indirect effect). Conversely, a small proportion (<5%) of the TE of Ln(odds of dementia), z-scored, on mortality risk was explained by the loneliness z-score.

CONCLUSIONS: In sum, dementia was positively associated with all-cause mortality risk, in similar fashion across loneliness score tertiles, while loneliness was associated with mortality risk. TE of loneliness on mortality risk was partially mediated by dementia odds in reduced models.

Citation Key13994
PubMed ID38701144