Loneliness in Primary Care Patients: A Prevalence Study

Rebecca A. Mullen, MD, MPH; Sebastian Tong, MD, MPH; Roy T. Sabo, PhD; Winston R. Liaw, MD, MPH; John Marshall; Donald E. Nease Jr, MD; Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH; John J. Frey III, MD


Ann Fam Med. 2019;17(2):108-115. 

In This Article


In conclusion, our study suggests loneliness is common in primary care patients. Our findings contribute to the growing body of evidence demonstrating that loneliness is widespread and associated with poor health. It is clear this public health concern is unlikely to find a resolution without concentrated, collaborative effort and undertaking. Recognizing that loneliness is present in diverse clinical settings allows for increased opportunities to identify creative, sustainable solutions. In response, primary care clinicians need to prioritize understanding social connections in risk assessment and the needs of lonely patients in clinical practice. Additional research is needed to understand the role of primary care in supporting lonely patients and further addressing loneliness, including screening and individualized approaches to intervention delivery.