Social Isolation Linked to Earlier Death
The study found living alone increased the risk of death by 32 percent, while perceptions of greater social isolation and elevated loneliness showed 29 percent and 26 percent increased risks of early mortality, respectively. The results were consistent among both men and women, but the impact of feelings of isolation or loneliness caused a higher degree of mortality risk for individuals under the age of 65.
The mortality rates among the lonely and isolated were comparable to those of individuals that smoked 15 cigarettes a day or were alcoholics. Lead researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., further noted, “The effect of this is comparable to that of obesity, something that public health takes very seriously.”