Every day more is being uncovered about the connection between loneliness and physical health. A strong base of peer reviewed research and application of knowledge is the first step to national policy that could bring healing equal to the scale of the suffering.
Surgeon General Issues Advisory on Loneliness and Announces Social Connection As Current Priority
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Surgeon General | May 2023
Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, released an advisory on the epidemic of loneliness and isolation facing our country, the destructive impacts it has on our collective health, and the extraordinary healing power of relationships.
Surgeon General: We’ve Become a Lonely Nation. It’s Time to Fix That.
New York Times | May 2023
At any moment, about one out of every two Americans is experiencing measurable levels of loneliness. This includes introverts and extroverts, rich and poor, and younger and older Americans. Sometimes loneliness is set off by the loss of a loved one or a job, a move to a new city, or health or financial difficulties – or a once-in-a-century-pandemic.
Family Caregivers Provide $600 Billion in Unpaid Care Across the U.S.
AARP | March 2023
Across the United States, an estimated 38 million people, about 11.5% of the population, are taking care of loved ones in 2023. That care will total nearly 36 billion hours with a value of nearly $600 billion. Family caregivers are the backbone of the long-term care system in the U.S. [with] over 60 percent of family caregivers working either full-time or part-time — and 30 percent living with a child or grandchild.
Social Isolation and Loneliness Linked in Older Adults
Physicians Weekly | November 2022
A strong link between memory loss and social isolation in older adults indicates a need to create interventions to reduce isolation and to evaluate its effects on potential memory loss, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. David M. Mosen, PhD, MPH, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional, observational study of 46,240 Medicare recipients aged 65and older who completed a health questionnaire.
Surprising Differences between Lonely Women and Lonely Men
PsychCentral | October 2022
It’s certainly true that men and women handle negative emotional states differently. When things aren’t going well in a woman’s life, she tends to interpret it as depression. When a man doesn’t feel good about himself, he tends to express it as anger.
How Loneliness Could Be Costing Your Business Success, And What To Do
Forbes | August 2022
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. This proverb summarizes the conundrum many entrepreneurs face. But working long hours and doing whatever it takes to make your business successful isn’t always conducive to spending time with other people. Human connection, however, brings tangible benefits and shouldn’t be ignored.
Watch: A conversation on the nation’s mental health crisis, with a view from Chicago
Axios | July 2022
Vivek H. Murthy explained the urgency of executing on mental health solutions in the U.S., the factors that are driving the youth mental health crisis.
Childhood Loneliness Linked to Stress and Problem Drinking in Young Adults
Neuroscience News | July 2022
Children who experience loneliness before the age of 12 are more likely to experience stress in early adulthood which leads to an increased risk of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
The Ways Loneliness Could Be Changing Your Brain and Body
CNET | July 2022
People were already lonely before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Before COVID-19 stranded folks at home and made getting close to others an unnerving experience, researchers were realizing Americans were lonelier than ever.
Study shows tech-based program improves workers’ mental health, productivity
MedCity News | June 2022
Employers are spending millions of dollars on programs to improve the mental well-being of their employees, though it’s not always clear how well the programs are working. A new peer-reviewed study is showing that at least one program is making a difference.
Loneliness Is a Public Health Emergency. Here’s What Helps, According to Experts
Time | June 2022
Experts have found that the pandemic did make Americans slightly more lonely—but loneliness levels were already dire enough to pose a threat to mental and physical health. Here’s what you need to know about loneliness and how to address it in your own life.
New research from Mencap reveals widespread loneliness with almost a third of people with a learning disability struggling with their mental health and many unable to find support
Mencap | Politics.co.uk | May 2022
Mencap urges the Government to provide good quality, post-pandemic community support to prevent further social isolation and declining mental health.
People in debt are more lonely now than during the lockdown, charity warns
Rebecca Paveley | Church Times | May 2022
PEOPLE in debt are suffering rising levels of loneliness and isolation as the cost-of-living squeeze hits, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has warned.
Young People Are Lonelier Than Ever
Nana Baah | Vice | April 2022
30 percent say they don’t know how to make new friends and they’ve never felt more alone.
Young people hit hardest by loneliness and depression during Covid-19
William A. Haseltine | Forbes | April 2021
A CDC online survey indicates that young people between the ages of 18-24 are more likely to suffer mental health problems during the pandemic than any age group.
A Rising Tally of Lonely Deaths on the Streets
Thomas Fuller | NY Times | April 2022
More than ever it has become deadly to be homeless in America, especially for men in their 50s and 60s.
What Does The UCLA Loneliness Scale Mean For My Life?
Danni Peck, Laura Angers NCC, LPC | Better Help | Aprli 2022
The UCLA Loneliness Scale is designed to help you understand how you feel about loneliness and social isolation and there’s a lot more too.
An Overview Of Chronic Loneliness
Samantha Dewitt | Better Help | April 2022
Interactions with other human beings are important to having a healthy, whole, and happy life. But what can you do if you’ve been isolated or have felt lonely for an extended time, even years?
Lonely Science: Women and early-career scientists in academia were among those hardest hit by COVID-19 disruptions
Swati Agrawal, Marilee Benore and Pamela Mertz | ASBMBTODAY | March 2022
While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the professional and personal lives of scientists, some groups were affected more than others.
Alone and lonely: The economic cost of solitude
Chiara Burlina, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose | Vox | December 2021
Western countries are facing an ‘epidemic of solitude’. Though its impact on mental health has attracted considerable attention, little is known about its economic effects. Though the relationship is complex and non-linear, a region with more lonely people will experience lower aggregate economic growth.
Loneliness during coronavirus
The Mental Health Foundation | The Mental Health Foundation | December 2021
Millions of us have felt lonely during the coronavirus pandemic. As we work together to stay safe and save lives, we may find ourselves spending less time with family, friends or familiar faces – especially if we’re shielding or self-isolating.
A growing share of teens feels lonely at school
Kathryn Hulick | Science News for Students | November 2021
Data from kids in 37 nations links this to use of cell phones and the internet.
Why loneliness is increasing, and how to fight back
Morgan Sweeney | Popular Science | September 2021
Overcoming America’s invisible health crisis.
The Pandemic of Loneliness: “Stories that caught our attention”
Avram Goldstein | California Health Care Foundation | August 2021
In this extraordinary era of pandemic isolation, social distancing, and masking, it makes perfect sense that loneliness and its impact on mental and physical health would garner literary attention.
Over 65 and Lonely? Don’t Talk to Your Doctor About Another Prescription
Suzanne Leigh | UCSF | July 2021
‘Social Prescribing’ May Mean Seniors Avoid Harmful Sedatives, Painkillers, UCSF Study Suggests
Covid: Loneliness a ‘bigger health risk than smoking or obesity’
Catherine Evans | BBC News | June 2021
NHS prescriptions for gardening and dancing are “vitally needed” to help tackle rising levels of loneliness after lockdown, people suffering from isolation have said.
Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions
CDC | CDC | April 2021
Loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people in the United States and putting them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions.
Loneliness won’t end when the pandemic ends
Maria Morava and Scott Andrew | CNN | April 2021
Whether people who are lonely have too few relationships or not enough deep bonds with others, loneliness has dire health outcomes across the board.
Young adults hardest hit by loneliness during pandemic
Colleen Walsh | Harvard Gazette | February 2021
Robust social network is key to easing pain, avoiding downward spiral, study says
Social Isolation and Loneliness: Imperatives for Health Care in a Post-COVID World
Eve Escalante, MSW, LCSW1; Robyn L. Golden, MA, LCSW1; Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN2 | Jama Network | February 2021
Social determinants of health have been found to be responsible for 80% to 90% of health outcomes, and an abundance of research has demonstrated that no matter the advancements in medicine and health care, the health of individuals and communities will not improve if these root-cause social factors are not addressed.
The Loneliness Pandemic
Jacob Sweet | Harvard Magazine | February 2021
The psychology and social costs of isolation in everyday life
Scientists show what loneliness looks like in the brain
McGill University | Science Daily | December 2020
A new study shows a sort of signature in the brains of lonely people that make them distinct in fundamental ways, based on variations in the volume of different brain regions as well as based on how those regions communicate with one another across brain networks.
Loneliness in youth could impact mental health over the long term
Elsevier | Science Daily | November 2020
The review, which synthesizes over 60 pre-existing, peer-reviewed studies on topics spanning isolation, loneliness and mental health for young people aged between 4 and 21 years of age, found extensive evidence of an association between loneliness and an increased risk of mental health problems for children and young people.
Pandemic Has Created Loneliness Epidemic, New Report Shows
Michelle Davis | AARP | October 2020
AARP Foundation and United Health Foundation survey finds older adults more at risk.
In The Midst Of The Pandemic, Loneliness Has Leveled Out
Kasey Killam | Scientific American | August 2020
Studies suggest that we are finding ways to connect even amid quarantine.
The science behind why social isolation can make you lonely
Polina Marinova Pompliano | The Profile | May 2020
I caught up with Laura to discuss America’s loneliness epidemic, why solitude can help us regulate our emotions, and what we can do in our everyday lives to preserve a sense of meaning and connection.
COVID-19 is making America’s loneliness epidemic even worse
Jamie Ducharme | Time Magazine | May 2020
Experts are rightly concerned about the mental health ramifications of this widespread isolation, especially since there’s no agreed-upon tipping point at which acute loneliness transitions into a chronic problem with long-term consequences.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic Fuels America’s Loneliness Epidemic
John Williams | U.S. News & World Report | April 2020
Isolation and loneliness are already huge health-related problems among older adults. Social distancing is poised to make those problems worse.
Loneliness and its impact on the American workplace
Cigna Report | March 2020
Cigna’s loneliness research shows that loneliness is a multifaceted issue with multiple drivers, including a lack of social support, too few meaningful social interactions, poor physical and mental health, and a lack of balance in our lives.
80 people went to Dallas emergency rooms 5,139 time in a year – usually because they were lonely
Teresa Woodard | WFAA ABC | May 2019
Once they determined who those high utilizers were, it was time to get back to why they keep coming in. That research led to a painful reality: the cause for most of the repeat visits is loneliness.
Loneliness costs the US almost $7 billion extra each year
Corinne Purtill | Quartz | October 2018
Social isolation takes a heavy toll on those who suffer from it, both in health and overall well-being. An effort to quantify the cost of loneliness in the US also found that among Americans aged 65 or older, social isolation costs the US government nearly $7 billion in additional health care costs per year.
Loneliness and social connections: A national survey of adults 45 and older
G. Oscar Anderson, Colette E. Thayer | AARP Foundation | September 2018
The national survey of 3,020 midlife and older adults was designed to get a current snapshot of loneliness and how it relates to social isolation factors.
New Evidence for the Necessity of Loneliness
Quanta Magazine | May 2016
A specific set of neurons deep in the brain may motivate us to seek company, holding social species together.
The science of loneliness
Robin Marantz Henig | Psychology Today | April 2014
…lonely people are impaired in their ability to control their emotions, make decisions, and interact with people. Ironically, the lonelier people were, the less well they functioned with others.
Biology of loneliness
Loneliness NZ | The Loneliness New Zealand Charitable Trust
Loneliness is part of our biology. With social and environmental triggers, it produces psychological (and physical) responses that affect behaviour and our wellbeing. To understand the biology of loneliness, we need to consider loneliness in terms of evolution, genetics and neurology.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Escitalopram for the Treatment of Adults With Anxiety Disorders
JAMA Psychiatry | www.jamanetwork.com | November 9, 2022
Is mindfulness-based stress reduction non-inferior to escitalopram for the treatment of anxiety disorders? In this randomized clinical trial of 276 adults with anxiety disorders, 8-week treatment with mindfulness-based stress reduction was non-inferior to escitalopram. In this study, mindfulness-based stress reduction was a well-tolerated treatment option with comparable effectiveness to a first-line medication for patients with anxiety disorders.
Social isolation is directly associated with later dementia
University of Warwick | www.sciencedaily.com | June 8, 2022
Interdisciplinary study shows changes to brain structures associated with memory and cognitive function are directly linked to social isolation. The data shows that socially isolated people are 26% more likely to develop later dementia. The study has implications for health and social care policy, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Understanding the effect of loneliness on unemployment: propensity score matching
N Morrish, R Mujica-Mota & A Medina-Lara | BMC Public Health | April 2022
Loneliness and unemployment are each detrimental to health and well-being. Recent evidence suggests a potential bidirectional relationship between loneliness and unemployment in working age individuals.
The experience of loneliness among people with a “personality disorder” diagnosis or traits: a qualitative meta-synthesis
Sarah Ikhtabi, Alexandra Pitman, Gigi Toh, Mary Birken, Eiluned Pearce & Sonia Johnson | BMC Psychiatry | February 2022
Loneliness is prevalent among people with a “personality disorder” diagnosis or who have related personality traits, but the experience of loneliness among people with “personality disorder” diagnoses/traits has not been well described.
Minority Stress and Loneliness in a Global Sample of Sexual Minority Adults: The Roles of Social Anxiety, Social Inhibition, and Community Involvement
Eddy M. Elmer, Theo van Tilburg & Tineke Fokkema | Springer Link | January 2022
Research suggests that loneliness among sexual minority adults is associated with marginalization, but it is unclear which processes may underlie this relationship. This cross-sectional study examined five possibilities.
Lonely in a crowd: investigating the association between overcrowding and loneliness using smartphone technologies
Ryan Hammoud, Stefania Tognin, Ioannis Bakolis, Daniela Ivanova, Naomi Fitzpatrick, Lucie Burgess, Michael Smythe, Johanna Gibbons, Neil Davidson & Andrea Mechelli | Nature Scientific Reports | December 2021
Increased overcrowding and population density were associated with higher levels of loneliness; in contrast, social inclusivity and contact with nature were associated with lower levels of loneliness.
Loneliness and emotion regulation
David A.Preece, Amit Goldenberg, Rodrigo Becerra, Mark Boyes, Penelope Hasking, James J.Gross | Science Direct | October 2021
Individual differences in emotion regulation may play an important role in explaining loneliness, and could therefore represent a promising treatment target.
Loneliness tied to more use of opioids, NSAIDs and sleep medicines: JAMA Study
Hina Zahid | Medical Dialogues | July 2021
Loneliness was associated with higher pain medication use, including use of opioids and NSAIDs, and more than twice the frequency of use of antidepressants, sleep medications, and benzodiazepines.
Prevalence of loneliness amongst older people in high-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Kavita Chawla, Tafadzwa Patience Kunonga, et al. | PLoS ONE | July 2021
Loneliness is associated with increased rates of morbidity and mortality, and is a growing public health concern in later life. This study aimed to produce an evidence-based estimate of the prevalence of loneliness amongst older people (aged 60 years and above).
Social isolation of older adults in long term care as a result of COVID-19 mitigation measures during the COVID-19 pandemic: Protecting the individual or a means to an end?
Cathy Purvis Lively | Voices in Bioethics | July 2021
While protecting the individual from disease, the restrictions also had a determinantal effect. The restrictions exacerbated social isolation and loneliness, two pervasive public health concerns within the older adult population.
Approaches to enhance social connection in older adults: an integrative review of literature
Usar Suragarn Ph.D., MSN, R.N.; Debra Hain Ph.D., APRN, ANP-BC, GNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN; GlennPfaff MSN, RNa | Elsevier | July 2021
Early interventions should include diverse activities enabling new social networks to be formed and to maintain a social connection with others face-to-face or through the use of technology.
Lonely in the city – sociodemographic status and somatic morbidities as predictors of loneliness and depression among seniors – preliminary results
Kasper Sipowicz, Marlena Podlecka et al. | International Journal of Environmental Research and Health | July 2021
The aim of this paper is to compare the perceived level of loneliness and depression in seniors living in the country and in the cities and assess somatic morbidity and sociodemographic status as predictors of loneliness and depressiveness.
Testing the Multi-Theory Model (MTM) to predict the use of new technology for social connectedness in the COVID-19 pandemic
Manoj Sharma, Kavita Batra, Jason Flatt | Healthcare | July 2021
The current study aims to test theory-based determinants in explaining the adoption of new
technology in a nationally representative sample during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy reduces loneliness in patients with persistent depressive disorder
Matthias A. Reinhard, Katharina Zentz, Tabea Nenov-Matt, et al. | Elsevier | June 2021
As loneliness is no primary focus of psychotherapy to date and the Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP) particularly addresses interpersonal relationships, we investigate the effects of CBASP on loneliness in an open study in inpatients with persistent depressive disorder.
Social Isolation and Loneliness Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Study of U.S. Adults Older Than 50
Siun Peng, PhD, Adam Roth PhD | The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, gbab068 | April 2021
We examined changes in social isolation, physical isolation, digital isolation, and loneliness in U.S. adults older than 50 before and during the lockdown.
Seeing sadness: Comorbid effects of loneliness and depression on emotional face processing
Survjit Cheeta, Joseph Beevers, Sophie Chambers, Andre Szameitat, Chris Chandler | Brain and Behavior – Wiley | April 2021
This is the first study to tease out comorbid versus independent effects of loneliness and depression on social information processing. To the extent that emotional biases may act as risk factors for detrimental outcomes, our findings highlight the importance of treating both loneliness and depression.
Psychological Distress and Loneliness Reported by US Adults in 2018 and April 2020
Emma E. McGinty, PhD1; Rachel Presskreischer, MS1; Hahrie Han, PhD2 | Jama Network | June 2020
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) introduced stressors to mental health, including loneliness stemming from social isolation, fear of contracting the disease, economic strain, and uncertainty about the future. We fielded a national survey measuring symptoms of psychological distress and loneliness among US adults in April 2020 and compared results with national data from 2018.
The interplay between stress, inflammation, and emotional attention: Relevance for depression
Viktoriya Maydych | Frontiers in Neuroscience | April 2019
This mini-review summarizes current research on the reciprocal relationships between different types of stressors, emotional attention, inflammation, and depression, and discusses potential neurobiological mechanisms underlying these interactions.
Effect of loneliness in the workplace on employees’ job performance: A study for hospital employees
Serkan Deniz | International Journal of Health Services Research and Policy | 2019
According to the studies in the literature, loneliness in the workplace leads to reduced life satisfaction and job satisfaction of employees, leader-member interaction, perceived manager support, organizational citizenship behavior, work performance and work efficiency.
The pathophysiology of perceived social isolation: Effects on health and mortality
Adnan Bashir Bhatti, Anwar ul Haq | Cureus | January 2017
Perceived social isolation (PSI) is a deficit in normal human social interaction, which has been associated with negative health outcomes. However, the precise mechanisms through which PSI influences human health are not fully known. This review aims at bringing out what is known about these pathways through which social isolation affects human health.
Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors of mortality: A meta-analytic review
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith, Mark Baker, et al. | Perspectives on Psychological Science | 2015
Actual and perceived social isolation are both associated with increased risk for early mortality. In this meta-analytic review, our objective is to establish the overall and relative magnitude of social isolation and loneliness and to examine possible moderators.
Loneliness matters: A theoretical and empirical review of consequences and mechanisms
Louise C. Hawkley, Ph.D. ; John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D. | Annals of Behavioral Medicine | July 2010
The purpose of this paper is to review the features and consequences of loneliness within a comprehensive theoretical framework that informs interventions to reduce loneliness.
Social isolation, loneliness and health in old age: A scoping review
Emilie Courtin and Martin Knapp | Health and Social Care in the Community | December 2015
The health and well-being consequences of social isolation and loneliness in old age are increasingly being recognised. The purpose of this scoping review was to take stock of the available evidence and to highlight gaps and areas for future research.
Feelings of loneliness, but not social isolation, predict dementia onset: Results from the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (AMSTEL)
Holwerda TJ, Deeg DJH, Beekman ATF, et al. | Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry | January 2014
Feeling lonely rather than being alone is associated with an increased risk of clinical dementia in later life and can be considered a major risk factor that, independently of vascular disease, depression and other confounding factors, deserves clinical attention.