Too much "alone time" may shorten your life

Posted on March 25, 2015

Some people thrive on "alone time," and seem perfectly happy flying solo at the movies, restaurants and on vacation when the rest of the world couldn't imagine doing these things without a partner, spouse or friends.

But new research finds that even if you relish solitary living, too much "me time" could cut your life short.

A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University finds both loneliness and social isolation could shorten a person's life span, comparable to the effects of obesity. Other research has compared the health impact of loneliness to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and drinking alcohol excessively.

In older people, loneliness and social isolation were a clearer indicator of early mortality. But interestingly, the researchers found the association between loneliness and increased risk for early death is actually greater for younger populations.

For the study, published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, researchers analyzed data from a variety of health studies on loneliness, social isolation and living alone. The data accounted for more than 3 million study participants.

After controlling for variables such as socioeconomic status, age, gender and preexisting health conditions, they observed the increased likelihood of death was 26 percent for people who reported loneliness, 29 percent for those with social isolation and 32 percent those for living alone.

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Category(s):Aging & Geriatric Issues, Social Anxiety / Phobia, Social Isolation

Source material from CBS News