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Mental disorders more common among those living alone, study claims

The i logo The i 01/05/2019 Sally Guyoncourt
Upset millennial outsider feel offended lack company, young outcast guy suffer from discrimination, jealous of friends hang out together in café, envious male loner depressed sit alone in coffeeshop © Getty Upset millennial outsider feel offended lack company, young outcast guy suffer from discrimination, jealous of friends hang out together in café, envious male loner depressed sit alone in coffeeshop

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Mental health problems are more common in people living alone and loneliness is a major factor, researchers have found.

A study of data of 20,500 people living in England, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found a positive association between those who lived alone and mental disorders.

Dr Louis Jacob, from the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France, who carried out the study said: "Living alone is positively associated with common mental disorders in the general population in England."

Loneliness factor

Sad teen looking away sitting on a couch in the living room at home © Getty Sad teen looking away sitting on a couch in the living room at home Dr Jacob led a team of researchers investigating the data of people aged 16 to 64 living in England, who participated in the 1993, 2000 and 2007 National Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys.

The proportion of people living alone has increased in recent years due to population ageing, decreasing marriage rates and lowering fertility.

The prevalence of people living alone in 1993, 2000, and 2007 was 8.8 per cent, 9.8 per cent, and 10.7 per cent respectively.

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Living alone increase

And the rates of common mental disorders (CMD), such as depression and anxiety, was 14.1 per cent, 16.3 per cent, and 16.4 per cent.

Across the years, for all ages and gender, there was a positive association between living alone and CMDs at a ratio of 1:69 in 1993, 1:63 in 2000 and 1:88 in 2007.

Loneliness was found to be behind 84 per cent of the living alone and CMD associations.

Dr Jacob and his team have suggested tackling loneliness might also aid the mental wellbeing of individuals living alone.

Explore issues faced by those battling mental health and join MSN's fight for happiness here.

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