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Living Alone Tied to Increased Risk for Mental Disorders

Loneliness explains majority of the association with common mental disorders

WEDNESDAY, May 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Living alone is positively associated with common mental disorders (CMDs) in the general population in England, according to a study published online May 1 in PLOS ONE.

Louis Jacob, Ph.D., from University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France, and colleagues examined data from 20,500 individuals (aged 16 to 64 years living in England) in the 1993, 2000, and 2007 National Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys. The authors sought to examine the association between living alone and CMDs. The Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised (CIS-R) questionnaire was used to assess CMDs.

The researchers found that the prevalence of CMDs was higher in individuals living alone versus those not living alone in all survey years. The prevalence of people living alone increased from 8.8 percent in 1993 to 10.7 percent in 2007. During the same time period, the rates of CMDs increased from 14.1 to 16.4 percent. In all years, all ages, and both men and women, there was a positive association between living alone and CMD (1993 odds ratio, 1.69; 2000 odds ratio, 1.63; 2007 odds ratio, 1.88). Loneliness explained 84 percent of the association between living alone and CMD.

“Interventions addressing loneliness among individuals living alone may be particularly important for the mental well-being of this vulnerable population,” the authors write.

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