Social isolation is detrimental for an individual’s physical and mental health. Social relationships affect mental and physical functioning, health behaviours and the risk of mortality. 5 A recent meta-analysis of nine longitudinal studies found that social isolation and loneliness are associated with 50% excess risk of coronary heart disease. 6Conversely, having strong social networks, socialising and building positive relationships have all been shown to be positive for people’s wellbeing, and social networks are a key facet in developing people’s resilience. 7

Social isolation is also an inequality issue; deprivation and disadvantage are linked to many of the life experiences that increase risk of social isolation, including poor maternal health, teenage pregnancy, unemployment and illness in later life. 8

References

  1. D. Umberson and J.Montez, “Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpointfor Health Policy,” 2011. [Online].Available:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/. [Accessed October2016]
  2. A. Steptoe and M. Kivimaki, “Stress and cardiovascular disease,” 2012. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22473079. [Accessed October 2016].
  3. A. Cooke, Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment: a toolkit for wellbeing, National MWIA Collaborative, 2011.
  4. The Marmot Review Team, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” 2010.
  5. D. Umberson and J.Montez, “Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpointfor Health Policy,” 2011. [Online].Available:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/. [Accessed October2016]
  6. A. Steptoe and M. Kivimaki, “Stress and cardiovascular disease,” 2012. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22473079. [Accessed October 2016].
  7. A. Cooke, Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessment: a toolkit for wellbeing, National MWIA Collaborative, 2011.
  8. The Marmot Review Team, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” 2010.