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Loneliness, common mental disorders and suicidal behavior: Findings from a general population survey
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre on Health of Societies in Transition). University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain / CIBERSAM, Madrid, Spain.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Affective Disorders, ISSN 0165-0327, E-ISSN 1573-2517, Vol. 197, no June, 81-87 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of engaging in suicidal behavior. To date, however, there has been comparatively little research on this in the general adult population, or on the role of common mental disorders (CMDs) in this association. The current study examined these associations using nationally representative data from England.

METHODS: Data came from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007. Information was obtained from 7403 household residents aged ≥16 years on perceived loneliness and lifetime and past 12-month suicide ideation and attempts. The Clinical Interview Schedule Revised (CIS-R) was used to assess six forms of CMD. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine these associations.

RESULTS: Loneliness was associated with suicidal behavior. Although adjusting for CMDs attenuated associations, higher levels of loneliness were still significantly associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts with odds ratios (OR) for those in the most severe loneliness category ranging from 3.45 (lifetime suicide attempt) to 17.37 (past 12-month suicide attempt). Further analyses showed that ORs for suicidal behavior were similar for individuals who were lonely without CMDs, and for those respondents with CMDs who were not lonely. Lonely individuals with CMDs had especially elevated odds for suicidal ideation.

LIMITATIONS: This study used cross-sectional data and a single-item measure to obtain information on loneliness.

CONCLUSION: Loneliness is associated with suicidal behavior in the general adult population. This highlights the importance of efforts to reduce loneliness in order to mitigate its harmful effects on health and well-being.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 197, no June, 81-87 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29755DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.02.054ISI: 000374374800012PubMedID: 26971125ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84960155634OAI: diva2:912826
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-18 Last updated: 2016-07-18Bibliographically approved

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