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Loneliness in middle age and biomarkers of systemic inflammation: Findings from midlife in the United States

Learn more about this journal articleMiddle-aged adults who are lonely have an elevated likelihood of death. Systemic inflammation may contribute to these increased odds. Using population-level data, this study tested if systemic inflammation is associated with loneliness in a broad age range of middle-aged adults in the United States.
This study used data from the Midlife in the US (LIDUS) survey Biomarker Project, which collected data on psychological, social, and physiological measures from a sample of middle-age adults. Biomarkers were obtained from a fasting blood sample. Self-reported loneliness was categorized as feeling lonely or not feeling lonely. Hierarchical regressions examined the association between biomarkers of systemic inflammation (interleukin-6, fibrinogen, C-reactive protein) and feeling lonely, adjusted for covariates.
Twenty-nine percent of the sample reported feeling lonely most or some of the time. There was a positive significant relationship between loneliness and the three systemic inflammation biomarkers after controlling for covariates. The conclusion was that feeling lonely is associated with systemic inflammation in middle-aged community dwelling US adults.
Authors: Paula Nersesian, Hae-Ra Han, Gayane Yenokyan, Roger Blumenthal, Marie Nolan, Melissa Hladek, Sarah Szanton

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