SEOUL, June 17 (Korea Bizwire) — A person living alone without a spouse faces a higher risk of death than those who live with a spouse, a study showed Thursday.
The Asia Cohort Consortium, a large consortium of cohort-based studies in Pacific Rim countries, compared the hazard ratio between 538,377 Asians including South Koreans who live with their spouses and 84,763 Asians living alone in over a 15-year span.
Teams from South Korea, Japan, China, Singapore and Taiwan participated in the study.
Those living alone included those who had been separated, divorced, widowed or had never been married.
The results showed that those who said they lived alone faced a hazard ratio of 27.1 percent, which was far higher than the 18.6 percent among the couples group.
The research team estimated that, on average, those who lived alone had a 15-percent higher hazard ratio than couples.
Sorted by type of solitary living, the hazard ratio of those who had never been married was 62 percent higher than couples.
The hazard ratio of those who were either divorced, separated or widowed was 38, 35 and 9 percent higher than couples.
The research team explained that in the case of chronic disease, a spouse takes on an effective role of requesting help from medical authorities, and encouraging consistent treatment for his/her partner, affecting the hazard ratio.
“Men acquired more health benefits from marriage than women. We also observed a drop in mortality rates,” said Dr. Shin Ae-sun from Seoul National University’s College of Medicine who participated in a research study.
“This is largely attributed to men leaving behind bad practices of drinking, smoking, and engaging in more exercise after starting a family with a wife and children,” Shin said.
“The heavier social responsibility that comes after marriage may also have had a positive effect on the men’s health-related activities.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)