Differential impact of transient and chronic loneliness on health status. A longitudinal study

Natalia Martín-María, Francisco Félix Caballero, Marta Miret, Stefanos Tyrovolas, Josep Maria Haro, José Luis Ayuso-Mateos, Somnath Chatterji

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Loneliness is associated with worse health status outcomes. Yet, the present study is one of the first to identify how patterns of loneliness (transient and chronic) are associated with health over time. Design: A total of 2,390 individuals were interviewed in 2011–2012 and 2014–2015 in a follow-up study conducted over a nationally representative sample of Spain. After confirming a longitudinal relationship between loneliness and health status, a growth curve mixture modeling was used to examine health trajectories. Main outcome measures: The three-item UCLA Loneliness Scale was used to assess loneliness. Health status was measured with self-reported questions regarding ten domains (vision, mobility, and self-care, among others), and seven measured tests (including grip strength, walking speed and immediate and delayed verbal recall). Results: A quarter of participants were lonely at baseline. Both the group of transient and chronic loneliness showed a negative significant relationship with health status at follow-up, (β = −0.063 and β = −0.075 respectively, p < 0.001). Nevertheless, the health status did not change across time in any group. Conclusion: People experiencing chronic loneliness had the worst health status. Different patterns of loneliness could benefit from the appropriate interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-195
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic loneliness
  • health status
  • longitudinal study
  • Transient loneliness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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