Living alone, loneliness and lack of emotional support as predictors of suicide and self-harm: seven-year follow up of the UK Biobank cohort

Shaw, R. J. , Cullen, B. , Graham, N., Lyall, D. M. , Mackay, D. , Okolie, C., Pearsall, R., Ward, J., John, A. and Smith, D. J. (2019) Living alone, loneliness and lack of emotional support as predictors of suicide and self-harm: seven-year follow up of the UK Biobank cohort. medRxiv, (doi:10.1101/19008458)

[img]
Preview
Text
199943.pdf - Draft Version

1MB

Abstract

Background: The association between loneliness and suicide is complex, poorly understood, and there are no prior longitudinal studies. We aimed to investigate the relationship between living alone, loneliness and emotional support as predictors of death by suicide and self-harm. Methods: Between 2006 and 2010 UK Biobank recruited over 0.5m people aged 37-73. This data was linked to prospective hospital admission and mortality records. Adjusted Cox regression models were used to investigate the relationship between self-reported measures of loneliness, emotional support and living arrangements and death by suicide and self-harm. Results: For women, there was no evidence that living arrangements, loneliness or lack of emotional support were associated with death by suicide. However, for men, both living alone (Hazard Ratio (HR) 2.19 95%CI 1.47-3.27) and with non-partners (HR 2.17 95%CI 1.28-3.69) were associated with death by suicide, independently of loneliness, which had a modest relationship with suicide in men (HR 1.45 95%CI 0.99-2.12). Associations between living alone and self-harm were explained by health for women, and by health, loneliness and emotional support for men. In fully adjusted models, loneliness was associated with hospital admissions for self-harm in both women (HR 1.90 95%CI 1.58-2.29) and men (HR 1.75 95%CI 1.41-2.18). Conclusions: For men -but not for women- living alone or with a non-partner increased the risk of suicide, a finding not explained by loneliness. Loneliness may be more important as a risk factor for self-harm than for suicide, and appears to mitigate against any protective effect of cohabitation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Also funded by MC_PC_17211.
Status:Published
Refereed:No
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Daniel and Cullen, Dr Breda and Mackay, Professor Daniel and Graham, Dr Nicholas and Pearsall, Dr Robert and Ward, Mr Joey and Shaw, Dr Richard and Lyall, Dr Donald
Authors: Shaw, R. J., Cullen, B., Graham, N., Lyall, D. M., Mackay, D., Okolie, C., Pearsall, R., Ward, J., John, A., and Smith, D. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:medRxiv
Published Online:10 October 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in medRxiv 2019
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the authors

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
302957Mental Health Data PathfinderDaniel SmithMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_17217HW - Mental Health and Wellbeing

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics