BMC urology 2017 04 0817(1) 29 doi 10.1186/s12894-017-0214-6
Urinary incontinence (UI) is associated with worse health among older adults. Little is known however, about its relation with loneliness or the role of mental health in this association. This study examined these factors among older adults in Ireland.
Data were analyzed from 6903 community-dwelling adults aged ≥ 50 collected in the first wave of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) in 2009-11. Information was obtained on the self-reported occurrence (yes/no) and severity (frequency/activity limitations) of UI in the past 12 months. Loneliness was measured using the UCLA Loneliness Scale short form. Information was also obtained on depression (CES-D), anxiety (HADS-A) and other sociodemographic variables. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between variables.
In a model adjusted for all potential confounders except mental disorders, compared to no UI, any UI was associated with significantly higher odds for loneliness (odds ratio: 1.51). When depression was included in the analysis, the association was attenuated and became non-significant while the inclusion of anxiety had a much smaller effect. Similarly, although frequency of UI and activity limitations due to UI were both significantly associated with loneliness prior to adjustment for mental disorders, neither association remained significant after adjustment for both depression and anxiety.
UI is associated with higher odds for loneliness among older community-dwelling adults but this association is largely explained by comorbid mental health problems, in particular, depression.