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Why does loneliness make us sick?


Project title

Why does loneliness make us sick? A prospective study of the mechanisms and pathways, through which loneliness affects health status

Aida Hougaard Andersen

Project manager

Julie Christiansen

Project description

Research suggests that loneliness affects health status. However, the mechanisms and pathways through which loneliness affects health are still largely unknown. Moreover, our knowledge of the age differences in the association between loneliness and poor health are limited. Based on a theoretical proposal by Hawkley and Cacioppo (2010), the project seeks to investigate possible pathways, through which loneliness affects health status (chronic and acute illness) and related factors (health care utilization, receiving of sickness benefits).

The present study will combine data from the 2013 Public Health Survey "How are you?" (N=33.285) with follow-up data obtained in 2017 from several Danish registers.

The project will be the first prospective study to investigate multiple mechanisms and pathways underlying the loneliness-health association in a large community sample. Furthermore, the project will be the first to examine the loneliness-health association across multiple age groups with a broad range of health outcomes.

The project is carried out under

INSIDE Research Group


Loneliness, health, chronic illness, health utilization, sickness benefits, mediators, age differences, register data, quantitative research

Start date and expected end date

16.10.2017 - 15.10.2020

Main supervisor

Associate professor Mathias Lasgaard


Professor Rikke Lund, KU;
Professor Pamela Qualter, The University of Manchester, UK;
Postdoc Christina Maar Andersen, SDU


DEFACTUM, Central Denmark Region


DEFACTUM; Central Denmark Region, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences; The Mary Foundation and The Aase & Ejnar Danielsen Foundation

Last Updated 19.10.2023