Dr. Katarzyna Wyka, a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH), and colleagues studied loneliness among persons with severe mental illness. Their findings were published in Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.
Although studies show that loneliness increases the risk of illness and can hasten death, it is poorly understood among persons with severe mental illness.
The research team used data on 150 people with severe mental illness. Using logistic regression, the researchers predicted loneliness from sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, as well as psychiatric hospitalization from presence of loneliness.
Loneliness was found to be associated with lack of willingness to ask for help and high levels of internalized stigma. Participants who were most lonely were almost 3 times more likely to be placed in psychiatric hospitals as those who were less lonely. The results suggest that loneliness may in part explain the association between internalized stigma and psychiatric hospitalization.
The authors concluded that their findings could be utilized to help prevent inpatient stays at psychiatric hospitals.