Age, Gender, Society, Isolation
What: The Biggest Loneliness Study
- Researched by Joanna Cichuta (INNER FIRE Co-Founder & Wellness Practitioner)
- Psychology Today
Great For: Dealing With Loneliness, Mental Health, Emotional Health
The scientists analysed the largest group of volunteers that has ever been investigated regarding loneliness. Here is what they have found:
Age affects loneliness
While one might think that older people might feel lonelier, the study showed that the opposite is true: Older people clearly reported less frequent loneliness than younger people.
Gender affects loneliness
Men reported more frequent loneliness than women
Society affects loneliness
People who lived in individualistic societies (such as the U.S.), in which individual success is an important life goal, reported more frequent loneliness than people living in more collectivistic societies (such as Guatemala), in which the needs and goals of a larger group such as the family are more important than individual success. This effect was stronger for men and older people.
Health Risks of Loneliness
Although it’s hard to measure social isolation and loneliness precisely, there is strong evidence that many adults aged 50 and older are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk. Recent studies found that:
Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.