This PLoS Medicine article came across the transom, with the following summary:
These findings indicate that, in Finland, living alone is associated with an increased risk of alcohol-related mortality. Because of the study design, it is impossible to say whether living alone is a cause or a consequence of alcohol abuse, but the greater increase in alcohol-related deaths (particularly fatal liver disease) among people living alone compared to married and cohabiting people after the alcohol price reduction suggests that people living alone are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of increased alcohol availability. Further research in other countries is now needed to identify whether living alone is a cause or effect of alcohol abuse and to extend these findings to cultures where the pattern of alcohol consumption is different. However, the findings of this natural experiment suggest that living alone should be regarded as a potential risk marker for death from alcohol-related causes.
Not to make light of this–alcohol abuse isn’t funny–but is this really surprising? People living alone are more likely to drink and drink heavily. Knock me over with a feather.
Still, it’s worth nailing down.
I’m going to guess that alcohol-related problems predispose a person to a solitary life, for the simple reason that it removes most of the possibility of an objective viewpoint. Secrecy is critical to concealing just how much alcohol the abuser is consuming.