Loneliness as a risk factor for hypertension in later life

J Aging Health. 2012 Jun;24(4):696-710. doi: 10.1177/0898264311431305. Epub 2012 Mar 15.


Objective: The present study aims to determine the impact of loneliness on hypertension in later life.

Method: Data for this study are derived from a sample of 1,880 older Malaysians via a cross-sectional survey entitled "Patterns of Social Relationships and Psychological Well-Being Among Older Persons in Peninsular Malaysia." Loneliness is assessed by the PGCMS item, "How much do you feel lonely?" Data analysis is carried out using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19.0.

Results: Nearly one third of respondents report high level of loneliness. The overall prevalence of hypertension is 39% (95% CI=36.9-41.3). Logistic regression, controlling for sociodemographic factors and several chronic medical conditions, shows that loneliness significantly increases likelihood of hypertension in later life (OR=1.31, p≤.05, 95% CI=1.04-1.66).

Discussion: The results show loneliness as a major risk factor for hypertension and call for health care professionals to be aware of the negative physiological effects of loneliness in old age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Loneliness / psychology*
  • Malaysia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors