For Under-75s, Living Alone Tied to Higher Mortality Risk

Increased risk for community-dwelling adults younger than 75, but not for those older than 75

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- For adults younger than 75 years of age, living alone is a significant predictor of all-cause mortality, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

To examine the correlation between living alone and the risk of mortality among community-dwelling adults, Bamini Gopinath, Ph.D., from the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues assessed self-reported health status using the 36-Item Short-Form Survey from 3,486 participants in the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) population-based cohort (aged 49 years and older). Participants who reported living with nobody or living with pets were classified as living alone. Australian National Death Index data were used to confirm deaths.

The researchers found that, over 10 years of follow-up, 21.2 percent of participants died. For the overall cohort, living alone was not associated with total mortality after multivariable adjustment. Living alone was associated with a significantly increased risk of all-cause mortality (15.0 versus 11.4 percent; multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio, 1.36) in participants younger than 75 years. Living alone was not associated with total mortality or cardiovascular disease mortality in those aged 75 years or older.

"In the BMES, living alone was a significant predictor of all-cause mortality among those younger than 75 years, independent of self-perceived health status and socioeconomic and medical covariates," the authors write.

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