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Living alone is associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: 32 years of follow-up in The Copenhagen Male Study [Epub ahead of print]

Tidsskriftartikel - 2019


Aims: As a consequence of modern urban life, an increasing number of individuals are living alone. Living alone may have potential adverse health implications. The long-term relationship between living alone and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, however, remains unclear.

Methods: Participants from The Copenhagen Male Study were included in 1985-86 and information about conventional behavioral, psychosocial, and environmental risk factors were collected. Socioeconomic position (SEP) was categorized into four groups. Multivariable Cox regression models were performed with follow-up through the Danish national registries.

Results: A total of 3346 men were included, mean (SD) age 62.9 (5.2) years. During 32.2 years of follow-up, 89.4% of the population died, 38.9% of cardiovascular causes. Living alone (9.6%) was a significant predictor of mortality. Multivariable risk estimates were (HR (95%CI)) 1.23 (1.09;1.39), p = 0.001 for all-cause mortality and 1.36 (1.13;1.63), p = 0.001 for cardiovascular mortality. Mortality risk was modified by SEP. Thus, there was no association in the highest SEP but for all other SEP categories, e.g. highest SEP for all-cause mortality, 1.01 (0.7;1.39), p = 0.91, and cardiovascular mortality, 0.94 (0.6;1.56), p = 0.80; lowest SEP 1.58 (1.16 to 2.19), p = 0.004 for all-cause mortality and 1.87 (1.20;2.90), p = 0.005 for cardiovascular mortality. Excluding participants dying within 5 years of inclusion (n = 274) did not change estimates, suggesting a minimal influence of reverse causation.

Conclusions: Living alone was an independent risk factor for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality with more than three decades of follow-up. Individuals in middle and lower socioeconomic positions were at particular risk. Health policy initiatives should target these high-risk individuals.


Jensen MT, Marott JL, Holtermann A, Gyntelberg F. Living alone is associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: 32 years of follow-up in The Copenhagen Male Study [Epub ahead of print]. European Heart Journal. Quality of Care & Clinical Outcomes 2019.
doi: 10.1093/ehjqcco/qcz004

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