Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Social isolation and all-cause mortality: a population-based cohort study in Denmark.


Social isolation is associated with increased mortality. Meta-analytic results, however, indicate heterogeneity in effect sizes. We aimed to provide new evidence to the association between social isolation and mortality by conducting a population-based cohort study. We reconstructed the Berkman and Syme's social network index (SNI), which combines four components of social networks (partnership, interaction with family/friends, religious activities, and membership in organizations/clubs) into an index, ranging from 0/1 (most socially isolated) to 4 (least socially isolated). We estimated cumulative mortality and adjusted mortality rate ratios (MRR) associated with SNI. We adjusted for potential important confounders, including psychiatric and somatic status, lifestyle, and socioeconomic status. Cumulative 7-year mortality in men was 11% for SNI 0/1 and 5.4% for SNI 4 and in women 9.6% for SNI 0/1 and 3.9% for SNI 4. Adjusted MRRs comparing SNI 0/1 with SNI 4 were 1.7 (95% CI: 1.1-2.6) among men and 1.6 (95% CI: 0.83-2.9) among women. Having no partner was associated with an adjusted MRR of 1.5 (95% CI: 1.2-2.1) for men and 1.7 (95% CI: 1.2-2.4) for women. In conclusion, social isolation was associated with 60-70% increased mortality. Having no partner was associated with highest MRR.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View