A startling revelation has emerged from a recent Meta-Gallup survey: approximately one in every four adults globally admits to experiencing significant feelings of loneliness.
This comprehensive study, spanning 142 nations, discovered that 24% of individuals aged 15 and above acknowledged feelings of isolation when posed with the question, “How lonely do you feel?”
Interestingly, the data revealed a pronounced disparity between age groups. Young adults, aged 19 to 29, exhibited the highest loneliness rates at 27%. In contrast, a mere 17% of seniors, those 65 and above, reported similar feelings.
Ellyn Maese, a senior research consultant at Gallup, shared her insights with CNN, emphasizing that while much research has highlighted the detrimental effects of loneliness among the elderly, this survey underscores that loneliness isn’t exclusive to any age group.
Gender-wise, the survey found minimal discrepancies in reported loneliness levels between men and women. However, a deeper dive into country-specific data revealed significant gender-based variations in certain nations.
The survey methodology encompassed interviews with about 1,000 individuals per country, conducted between June 2022 and February 2023. This extensive survey represents approximately 77% of the global adult populace.
Dr. Ami Rokach, a clinical psychologist and associate professor, expressed surprise at the relatively low percentage of respondents admitting to loneliness. He speculates that the actual global loneliness rates, especially among young adults, might be even higher than reported.
Rokach elaborated on the unique challenges faced by young adults, such as navigating romantic relationships, career uncertainties, and the process of individuation from their families. These factors, he believes, render them more susceptible to feelings of loneliness compared to older adults, who often have established support systems.
The survey also highlighted the importance of genuine social connections, especially in the post-pandemic era. While solitude can be rejuvenating for some, human beings inherently seek meaningful social interactions to thrive.
Dr. Olivia Remes, a mental health researcher, emphasized the potential pitfalls of passive social media engagement, where users merely scroll through others’ posts, leading to unfavorable comparisons. She advocates for active online interactions and daily real-life conversations to combat feelings of isolation.
Gallup is gearing up to unveil a comprehensive report on November 1, delving into the global state of social connections. This report will encompass the current findings and offer a deeper exploration of loneliness trends worldwide.
Maese remains hopeful that this survey will catalyze further research into the multifaceted dimensions of loneliness, fostering a deeper understanding of its global prevalence and implications.