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Open AccessArticle

The Association Between Loneliness and Cognitive Impairment among Older Men and Women in China: A Nationwide Longitudinal Study

by Zi Zhou 1,2, Fanzhen Mao 1,2, Wei Zhang 1,2, 3,4,5, Ping Wang 1,2 and Ya Fang 1,2,*
1
State Key Laboratory of Molecular Vaccine and Molecular Diagnostics, School of Public Health, Xiamen University, Xiang’an South Road, Xiang’an District, Xiamen 361102, China
2
Key Laboratory of Health Technology Assessment of Fujian Province University, School of Public Health, Xiamen University, Xiang’an South Road, Xiang’an District, Xiamen 361102, China
3
Department of Health Management and Informatics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
4
Disability, Aging, and Technology Cluster, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
5
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162877
Received: 10 June 2019 / Revised: 7 August 2019 / Accepted: 9 August 2019 / Published: 12 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Aging and Public Health)
We aimed to investigate the association between loneliness and cognitive impairment among older men and women in China. Data for 6898 eligible participants aged 65 years and older were derived from the latest two waves (2008/2009 and 2011/2012) of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey. A logistic regression analysis was performed to determine whether the association between loneliness at baseline and the risk of cognitive impairment at follow-up varied by sex, with adjustment for social-demographic variables, social isolation, lifestyles, and health status. The rates of baseline loneliness and follow-up cognitive impairment were both higher among women than men. Loneliness at baseline was significantly associated with cognitive impairment at follow-up among elderly men (OR = 1.30; 95% CI 1.01–1.69), even after adjusting for potential confounding variables; however, a similar association was not observed among elderly women (OR = 0.98; 95% CI 0.81–1.19). Multiple imputations were applied to address missing data. Although elderly women more frequently reported feelings of loneliness, the impact of loneliness on cognitive impairment was significant among elderly men but not elderly women. Interventions designed to decrease the incidence of loneliness may be particularly beneficial for the reduction of cognitive impairment among elderly Chinese men. View Full-Text
Keywords: loneliness; cognitive impairment; older adults; sex differences; China loneliness; cognitive impairment; older adults; sex differences; China
MDPI and ACS Style

Zhou, Z.; Mao, F.; Zhang, W.; Towne, S.D., Jr.; Wang, P.; Fang, Y. The Association Between Loneliness and Cognitive Impairment among Older Men and Women in China: A Nationwide Longitudinal Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2877.

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