Loneliness, social networks, and health: A cross-sectional study in three countries
EntityUAM. Departamento de Psiquiatría; Instituto de Investigación del Hospital de La Princesa (IP)
PublisherPublic Library of Science
10.1371/journal.pone.0145264PLos ONE 11.1 (2016): e0145264
Funded byThe research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement number 223071 (COURAGE in Europe), from the European Commission Horizon 2020 under grant number 635316 (ATHLOS), from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III-FIS research grant numbers PS09/00295, PS09/01845, PI12/01490 and PI13/00059, and from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation ACI-Promociona (ACI2009-1010). Projects PI12/01490 and PI13/00059 have been co-funded by the European Union European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) “A Way to Build Europe”. Laura Rico is supported by the programme "Contratos predoctorales para Formación de Personal Investigador, FPI-UAM", Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Marta Miret is grateful to the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness for the postdoctoral fellowship (FPDI-2013-15793). Beatriz Olaya is part of the Sara Borrell postdoctoral programme (reference no. CD12/00429) supported by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain
Projectinfo:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/223071; info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/635316/EU//ATHLOS; Gobierno de España. PI12/01490; Gobierno de España. PI13/00059; Gobierno de España. FPDI-2013-15793
SubjectsSocial networks; Loneliness; Health; Study; Medicina
Rights© 2016 Rico-Uribe et al
Esta obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución 4.0 Internacional.
It is widely recognized that social networks and loneliness have effects on health. The present study assesses the differential association that the components of the social network and the subjective perception of loneliness have with health, and analyzes whether this association is different across different countries. Methods: A total of 10 800 adults were interviewed in Finland, Poland and Spain. Loneliness was assessed by means of the 3-item UCLA Loneliness Scale. Individuals' social networks were measured by asking about the number of members in the network, how often they had contacts with these members, and whether they had a close relationship. The differential association of loneliness and the components of the social network with health was assessed by means of hierarchical linear regression models, controlling for relevant covariates. Results: In all three countries, loneliness was the variable most strongly correlated with health after controlling for depression, age, and other covariates. Loneliness contributed more strongly to health than any component of the social network. The relationship between loneliness and health was stronger in Finland (|β| = 0.25) than in Poland (|β| = 0.16) and Spain (|β| = 0.18). Frequency of contact was the only component of the social network that was moderately correlated with health. Conclusions: Loneliness has a stronger association with health than the components of the social network. This association is similar in three different European countries with different socioeconomic and health characteristics and welfare systems. The importance of evaluating and screening feelings of loneliness in individuals with health problems should be taken into account. Further studies are needed in order to be able to confirm the associations found in the present study and infer causality
Google Scholar:Rico-Uribe, Laura Alejandra - Caballero Díaz, Francisco Félix - Olaya, Beatriz - Tobiasz-Adamczyk, Beata - Koskinen, Seppo - Leonardi, Matilde A. - Haro, Josep María - Chatterji, Somnath - Ayuso Mateos, José Luis - Miret, Magdalena
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