Risks of Isolation

Feeling lonely and isolated can be bad for you.

Sightlines Project – Stanford Center on Longevity 2021

Source: Stanford Center on Longevity


Stanford study measures several areas critical to how people age well. Among the conclusions: Socially isolated people face health risks comparable to those of smokers. And their mortality risk is two times greater than that of obese people. In addition, 55-64 year olds are less likely to be socially engaged than people of that age in previous generations. Research consistently indicates that volunteering confers mental and physical benefits—but just over 1 in 4 of us volunteers.

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Loneliness in Older Persons: A Predictor of Functional Decline and Death 2015

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine&nbsp


Study found that nearly one in three people over 60 years old reported loneliness. The study found that the association between loneliness and poor health outcomes, and even death, was strong. On a positive note, the authors believe that loneliness may be more successfully addressed than other health conditions and that doctors should do more to identify loneliness so they can better treat their patients.

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Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review 2015

Source: Perspectives on Psychological Science


70 studies representing more than 3.4 million people primarily from North America but also from Europe, Asia and Australia, examined the role that social isolation, loneliness or living alone might have on mortality. Researchers found that all three had a significant and equal effect on the risk of premature death, one that was equal to or exceeded the effect of other well-accepted risk factors such as obesity.

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Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review 2010

Source: PLOS Medicine


Data from 148 studies with a total of over 300,000 people followed for an average of 7.5 years, indicate that people with good social relationships have a 50% reduced risk of early death compared to those with poor social relationships, an effect similar to quitting smoking.

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Increased Mortality Risk in Older Adults with Persistently Low or Declining Feelings of Usefulness to Others 2009

Source: Journal of Aging and Health


U.S. study shows that feeling useful to others as we age is critical. Study shows that a persistently high level of feeling useful to others is associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality.

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