Daily Loneliness Affects Quality of Life in Sickle Cell Disease

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



International journal of behavioral medicine




Loneliness; Quality of life; Sickle cell disease


BACKGROUND: Loneliness is related to psychosomatic challenges in chronic illnesses; however, very little research focuses on loneliness in sickle cell disease (SCD), the most common genetic blood disorder. This study used a daily diary method to illustrate how loneliness and quality of life co-occur in the day-to-day lives of people living with SCD. METHOD: Seventy-nine adults living with SCD (63 women; mean age = 31.76 years) completed daily electronic surveys comprised of a brief loneliness scale and a single-item measure of quality of life. Participants completed each survey once per day for up to 42 consecutive days. We evaluated the effects of daily changes in loneliness on next-day quality of life through multilevel regression models. RESULTS: Central findings indicated that there were significant between-person (b = - .993, p < .001, 95% CI = - 1.26, - .725) and within-person (b = - .202, p < .005, 95% CI = .327, - .089) effects. Specifically, participants who reported higher mean levels of loneliness also reported lower quality of life. Further, days on which participants reported higher loneliness were followed by days on which they reported lower quality of life. CONCLUSIONS: These results may be the first to suggest a connection between loneliness and psychological outcomes in adults living with SCD. Daily fluctuations in loneliness appear to be associated with decrements in next-day quality of life. Future studies should elucidate the clinical relevance and broader health-related implications of these findings.


Prevention and Community Health