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Health Commun. 2010 Jun;25(4):312-22. doi: 10.1080/10410231003773334.

Functions of loneliness, social support, health behaviors, and stress in association with poor health.

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Department of Communication, University of Arizona, AZ, USA.


Prior research has established clear links between social support, loneliness, and various health outcomes. This study was designed to test several theoretically derived explanations for such associations. A survey of 265 adults ages 19-85 years was conducted with measures of social support, loneliness, stress, health behaviors, and general health. Results showed that loneliness was more strongly associated with number of close relationships than with sheer contact with social network members. Further, loneliness mediated the association between social support and better health. In addition, health behaviors, especially poor sleep and medical adherence, mediated the association between loneliness and poor health. These results provide confirmation of theoretical mechanisms postulated to explain why loneliness is associated with poor health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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