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Cohort study
Older people who report loneliness have increased risk of mortality and functional decline
  1. Laurie Ann Theeke
  1. Morgantown Department, School of Nursing, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Laurie Ann Theeke
    School of Nursing, West Virginia University, Morgantown Department, PO Box 9620, HSC-South, Morgantown, WV 26506-9620, USA; ltheeke{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • National screening recommendations are needed for loneliness.

  • Assessments for loneliness should be a component of primary care for older adults.

  • Interventions focused on the poorly adapted cognitive processes associated with loneliness warrant further study.


Prevalence rates of loneliness have been reported to be as high as 17% in samples of older adults in the USA.1 Historically, scientists viewed loneliness as a social phenomenon. Recently, loneliness has been reconceptualised as a biopsychosocial stressor that contributes …

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  • Funding None.

  • Competing interests None.