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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Alone Together: Who's Lonely and How Do We Measure It?

Tom Harrison
The RSA.org
Originally published January 18, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

What affect does loneliness have on our health?

Neuroscientist John Cacioppo’s seminal work published in ‘Loneliness: Human Nature and Need for Social Connection’ was one of the first to study the health impacts of loneliness. He found that lonely people have a 20 per cent higher premature mortality rate and called for a culture shift that would see loneliness as important a public health issue as obesity. The Campaign to End Loneliness acknowledges this; reporting that 3 out of 4 GPs say they see between 1 and 5 people a day who have come in mainly because they are lonely.

Indeed, research tells us that this phenomenon goes far beyond the familiar stereotype of an isolated grandmother. A recent British Red Cross report found that 32 per cent of those aged 16-24 reported that in the past 2 weeks they had often or always felt lonely. Are 1/3 of young people just snowflakes? It seems unlikely.

This has contributed to pressure for government to respond. But how do we measure the problem and what are responses required to tackle it?

The article is here.

Note to Reader: Psychotherapy can help with loneliness.