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Cohort study
Among elderly men, feelings of loneliness are associated with increased 10-year mortality risk, independent of social isolation and medical and psychiatric conditions
  1. Thomas O Obisesan
  1. Department of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Thomas O Obisesan
    Department of Medicine, Howard University, Medicine, 2041 Georgia Ave, NW Washington, DC 20060, USA; tobisesan{at}howard.edu

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Commentary on: Holwerda TJ, Beekman AT, Deeg DJ, et al. Increased risk of mortality associated with social isolation in older men: only when feeling lonely? Results from the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (AMSTEL). Psychol Med 2012;42:843–53.

Implications for practice and research

  • Clinicians should have heightened awareness and inquire about feelings of loneliness when providing care for older adults.

  • More studies are needed to further elucidate gender-based differences on the relationship between loneliness and mortality.

Context

The demographic imperative indicates aging of the western hemisphere. Whereas some older adults would prefer continued employments until late in life, chronic-health conditions1 would force many into premature retirements. Without an efficient coping mechanism, related-social isolation and loneliness could emerge. Loneliness is defined broadly as a distressing feeling of individuals’ subjective experience about lack of satisfying relationships which can …

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