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Adolescent social isolation and premature mortality in a Swedish birth cohort

Robin S. Högnäs (), Ylva B. Almquist and Bitte Modin
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Robin S. Högnäs: Stockholm University
Ylva B. Almquist: Stockholm University
Bitte Modin: Stockholm University

Journal of Population Research, 2020, vol. 37, issue 1, 1-23

Abstract: Abstract Research shows consistently that social ties are important for longevity, and they may be particularly important during adolescence. An absence of social ties, or social isolation, during adolescence may adversely affect long-term health and wellbeing. While prior research has examined associations between isolation from friends and long-term health, and having no siblings and mortality, no study (of which we are aware) considers jointly both the role of having no friends and no siblings, nor more generally with whom adolescents spend time, and the risk of premature mortality. This paper extends the literature by drawing on data from the Stockholm Birth Cohort Study to examine the association between different types of social isolation during adolescence (i.e., an absence of friends, siblings, and time with other adolescents) and the risk of premature mortality by midlife. Results suggest that having no siblings, being unliked at school, and spending (mostly) no time with other adolescents, increases the risk of premature mortality. The association between being unliked and premature mortality was attenuated by demographic and adolescent characteristics. Consistent with our expectations, net of a robust set of covariates, adolescents who had no siblings and mostly spent no time with other adolescents (i.e., isolates) were the group most vulnerable to premature mortality by midlife. However, this was only true for females.

Keywords: Adolescent social isolation; Siblings; Friends; Premature mortality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s12546-019-09237-6

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Journal of Population Research is currently edited by Santosh Jatrana, Dharmalingam Arunachalam, Aude Bernard, Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Ann Evans, Michael Haan, Brian Houle, Trude Lappegård and Gordon Carmichael

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