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Can Loneliness Kill You? Researchers Give Us The Answer

Can Loneliness Kill You? Researchers Give Us The Answer

The Question Of Can Loneliness Kill You?

There are three major aspects to the elderly persons’ troubles: boredom, helplessness and loneliness.  But while terrible, they’re not going to kill you.  Or can loneliness kill you?  We present the latest research on these three tenets and focus here on loneliness.

There is an enormous body of evidence around health and impact on mortality.  For example, thanks to clinical research we know that obesity is the third most prevalent cause of burden of disease in Australia*.  Thanks to clinical research, we know that three in five people with diabetes also have heart disease*.  But what do we know about loneliness and its impact on health and mortality?  Actually, surprisingly little.

But we present some excellent research in this Nurse on the Go Video – R&D series, that looks at exactly that: what impact does loneliness have on one’s health.  It specifically looks at the elderly population and measures that differences experienced by men and by women.

Ultimately, they answer the question: Can loneliness kill you?

You’ll be surprised by the answer




Obisesan, T. (2013). Among elderly men, feelings of loneliness are associated with increased 10-year mortality risk, independent social isolation and medical and psychiatric conditions.  Evidence-Based Nursing.  16(2): 66-67.
Holwerda, T. J., Beekman, A. T. F., Deeg, D. J H., Stek, M. L., van Tilburg, T. G., Visser, P. J., Schmand, B., Jonker, C. & Shoevers, R. A.  (2012). Increased risk of mortality associated with social isolation in older men: only when feeling lonely? Results from the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (AMSTEL).  Psychological Medicine. 42: 843-853.
Brownie, S., Neeleman, P. & Noakes-Meyer, C. (2011). Exemplar: Establishing the Eden Alternative in Australia and New Zealand. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession. 37(2): 222-224.


Nic Nash-Arnold has been nursing for twenty years. She has nursed thousands of patients, mainly in the operating theatre. Nicole has worked in both public and private hospitals in Queensland. Ten years ago, she left the “coal face” of nursing and moved into a Nurse Educator role and then a series of senior and executive hospital administration roles. Nic has always believed in the empowerment with education. That might be empowering nurses to provide better care or patients to take better care, but education is always the centre of the solution. Google 

Mortality:  The state of being susceptible to death


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