Loneliness and isolation are known to be bad for our health generally. In this project we are using statistical analysis of cohort study data to understand how social isolation and loneliness are correlated with a range of physical health conditions – cardiovascular disease, falls, respiratory disease and more – across the lifespan.
Specifically, we are working to understand how loneliness and isolation contribute to modifiable risk factors for these conditions (including behavioural and biological risk factors). We are also linking data from cohort studies with hospital episode statistics to understand the relationship with health service utilisation. We’re also applying various theories from social psychology and social epidemiology to explore different definitions of isolation, including living alone, having a lack of social contact with other people, and being disengaged from community activities.