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Loneliness Linked with Depression Among Veterans

J Affect Disord; ePub 2018 Jan 15; Teo, Marsh, et al

Multiple aspects of social connectedness are associated with depression outcomes among military veterans with depression, a recent study found. Loneliness may represent the most important component of connectedness, as it is associated with depression severity, suicidality, and health-related behaviors. Participants were primary care patients (n=301) with probable major depression at a Veterans Health Administration hospital and its satellite clinics. Social connectedness was primarily measured using multi-item instruments from the NIH Toolbox of Adult Social Relationship Scales. Primary outcomes were clinical symptoms (depression and suicidal ideation) and secondary outcomes were self-reported health-related behaviors (medication adherence, patient activation, and help-seeking intentions). Researchers found:

  • In multivariate models adjusting for potential confounders and other facets of connectedness, loneliness was associated with higher levels of depression and suicidal ideation, as well as lower patient activation and help-seeking intentions.
  • Social support and social norms about depression treatment were each associated with higher patient activation and help-seeking intentions.
  • Social connectedness was not associated with medication adherence.

Citation:

Teo AR, Marsh H, Forsberg CW, et al. Loneliness is closely associated with depression outcomes and suicidal ideation among military veterans in primary care. [Published online ahead of print January 15, 2018]. J Affect Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.01.003.

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