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Both objective and subjective aspects of social isolation have been associated with alterations in immune markers relevant to multiple chronic diseases among older adults. However, these associations may be confounded by health status, and it is unclear whether these social factors are associated with immune functioning among relatively healthy adults. The goal of this study was to examine the associations between perceived loneliness and circulating levels of inflammatory markers among a diverse sample of adults.
Data come from a subset of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (n = 441). Loneliness was measured by three items derived from the UCLA Loneliness Scale. The association between loneliness and C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen was assessed using multivariable linear regression analyses. Models were adjusted for demographic and health characteristics.
Approximately 50% of participants reported that they hardly ever felt lonely and 17.2% felt highly lonely. Individuals who were unmarried/unpartnered or with higher depressive symptoms were more likely to report being highly lonely. There was no relationship between perceived loneliness and ln(CRP) (β = -0.051, p = 0.239) adjusting for demographic and health characteristics. Loneliness was inversely associated with ln(fibrinogen) (β = -0.091, p = 0.040), although the absolute magnitude of this relationship was small.
These results indicate that loneliness is not positively associated with fibrinogen or CRP among relatively healthy middle-aged adults.
Copyright: © 2016 Mezuk et al.
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