Social isolation and all-cause mortality: a population-based cohort study in Denmark

Kristina Laugesen; Lisbeth Munksgård Baggesen; Sigrún Alba Jóhannesdóttir Schmidt; M. Maria Glymour; Mathias Lasgaard; Arnold Milstein; Henrik Toft Sørensen; Nancy E. Adler; Vera Ehrenstein

Social isolation is associated with increased mortality. Meta-analytic results, however, indicate heterogeneity in effect sizes. We aimed to provide new evidence to the association between social isolation and mortality by conducting a population-based cohort study. We reconstructed the Berkman and Syme’s social network index (SNI), which combines four components of social networks (partnership, interaction with family/friends, religious activities, and membership in organizations/clubs) into an index, ranging from 0/1 (most socially isolated) to 4 (least socially isolated). We estimated cumulative mortality and adjusted mortality rate ratios (MRR) associated with SNI. We adjusted for potential important confounders, including psychiatric and somatic status, lifestyle, and socioeconomic status. Cumulative 7-year mortality in men was 11% for SNI 0/1 and 5.4% for SNI 4 and in women 9.6% for SNI 0/1 and 3.9% for SNI 4. Adjusted MRRs comparing SNI 0/1 with SNI 4 were 1.7 (95% CI: 1.1–2.6) among men and 1.6 (95% CI: 0.83–2.9) among women. Having no partner was associated with an adjusted MRR of 1.5 (95% CI: 1.2–2.1) for men and 1.7 (95% CI: 1.2–2.4) for women. In conclusion, social isolation was associated with 60–70% increased mortality. Having no partner was associated with highest MRR.

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År 2018


Mathias Kamp Lasgaard

+45 7841 4333 / +45 3051 8948


Mathias Kamp Lasgaard