Loneliness is a global issue, and primary care physicians play an important role in assessing and intervening with loneliness. This study aimed to examine the association between having a usual source of care (USC) or a good quality of primary care, and loneliness.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in Japan in 2022. A total of 6,000 residents were randomly sampled from the general population, aged 20-74 years. The outcome was the total score of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 3-item loneliness scale. The exposure included USC and the Person-Centered Primary Care Measure (PCPCM), which assesses the quality of primary care. We conducted a linear regression analysis to adjust for age, sex, educational status, annual household income, self-rated health, living status (whether alone or not), and the existence of physical health problems.
Of the 6,000 residents, 1,277 responded to the survey. The median score of the UCLA 3-item loneliness scale was 6.0 and the mean total score of the PCPCM was 2.62. Of the 1,277 individuals, 713 (55.8%) had USC. Having USC was significantly associated with lower scores on the UCLA 3-item loneliness scale; the coefficient was -0.34 (95% confidence interval (CI): -0.57 to -0.12). Also, the total PCPCM score was significantly associated with lower loneliness scores; the coefficient was -0.56 (P < 0.001, 95% CI: -0.78 to -0.35).
Having USC and a better quality primary care were associated with a lower loneliness score. The quality of primary care could be a factor to mitigate patient loneliness.

© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press.