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Social isolation and loneliness as risk factors for hospital admissions for respiratory disease among older adults
  1. Feifei Bu1,
  2. Keir Philip2,
  3. Daisy Fancourt1
  1. 1 Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2 National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daisy Fancourt, Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, London, London, UK; d.fancourt{at}


Rising hospital admissions due to respiratory disease (RD) are a major challenge to hospitals. This study explored modifiable social risk factors among 4478 older adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Data were linked with administrative hospital records and mortality registry data (follow-up 9.6 years) and analysed using survival analysis accounting for competing risks. Living alone and social disengagement but not social contact or loneliness were associated with an increased risk of RD admissions, independent of socio-demographic, health and behaviour factors. Providing support for disengaged adults living alone who are at risk of RD admissions should be explored.

  • COPD epidemiology
  • psychology

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  • Contributors DF conceived the idea for this study. DF, FB and KP conducted the data analyses. The initial draft of the manuscript was produced by FB. DF, FB and KP were involved in interpreting the results and writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research was supported through a grant from the Leverhulme Trust [PLP-2018-007]. KP was supported by the Imperial College Clinician Investigator Scholarship. DF was supported by the Wellcome Trust [205407/Z/16/Z]. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. The funding for English Longitudinal Study of Ageing is provided by the National Institute on Aging [R01AG017644] and a consortium of UK government departments coordinated by the Economic and Social Research Council.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval for ELSA was granted by the National Research Ethics Service.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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