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Does marriage protect against hospitalization with pneumonia? A population-based case-control study

Authors Mor A, Ulrichsen SP, Svensson E, Berencsi K, Thomsen RW

Received 25 June 2013

Accepted for publication 7 August 2013

Published 11 October 2013 Volume 2013:5(1) Pages 397—405

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CLEP.S50505

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Anil Mor, Sinna P Ulrichsen, Elisabeth Svensson, Klara Berencsi, Reimar W Thomsen

Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Background: To reduce the increasing burden of pneumonia hospitalizations, we need to understand their determinants. Being married may decrease the risk of severe infections, due to better social support and healthier lifestyle.
Patients and methods: In this population-based case-control study, we identified all adult patients with a first-time pneumonia-related hospitalization between 1994 and 2008 in Northern Denmark. For each case, ten sex- and age-matched population controls were selected from Denmark's Civil Registration System. We performed conditional logistic regression analysis to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) for pneumonia hospitalization among persons who were divorced, widowed, or never married, as compared with married persons, adjusting for age, sex, 19 different comorbidities, alcoholism-related conditions, immunosuppressant use, urbanization, and living with small children.
Results: The study included 67,162 patients with a pneumonia-related hospitalization and 671,620 matched population controls. Compared with controls, the pneumonia patients were more likely to be divorced (10% versus 7%) or never married (13% versus 11%). Divorced and never-married patients were much more likely to have previous diagnoses of alcoholism-related conditions (18% and 11%, respectively) compared with married (3%) and widowed (6%) patients. The adjusted OR for pneumonia-related hospitalization was increased, at 1.29 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.25-1.33) among divorced; 1.15 (95% CI: 1.12-1.17) among widowed; and 1.33 (95% CI: 1.29-1.37) among never-married individuals as compared with those who were married.
Conclusion: Married individuals have a decreased risk of being hospitalized with pneumonia compared with never-married, divorced, and widowed patients.

Keywords: marital status, risk, mortality, immune function

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