A Widespread Emotion: Loneliness The latest research conducted by Meta-Gallup, spanning 142 nations, reveals that 24% of individuals aged 15 and above admit to experiencing significant or moderate feelings of loneliness. The simple query posed was, “How lonely do you feel?”
Young vs. Old: Who Feels Lonelier? Surprisingly, young adults, specifically those aged 19 to 29, reported the highest loneliness rates, with 27% feeling isolated. In contrast, senior citizens seem more content. Merely 17% of those 65 and older expressed feelings of loneliness. However, the majority under 45 acknowledged at least some degree of loneliness.
Loneliness: Not Confined by Age “Research has frequently highlighted the risk of loneliness in seniors. Yet, this survey underscores the universality of this sentiment, impacting all age brackets,” stated Ellyn Maese from Gallup. The survey also divulged minimal gender-based disparity in loneliness experiences. Nonetheless, 79 of the surveyed countries displayed a marginally higher rate of loneliness among women.
Assessing The Loneliness Epidemic The study methodology involved questioning around 1,000 respondents from each country between June 2022 and February 2023. This sample embodies roughly 77% of the adult global populace. Parallel reports from the World Health Organization and the US surgeon general corroborate the detrimental health consequences of persistent loneliness.
A Deeper Dive with Dr. Ami Rokach Dr. Ami Rokach, unaffiliated with the Gallup study, suggests that the actual global loneliness statistics might be even starker. The transitional phase of youth, rife with uncertainties from love to career choices, predisposes younger adults to heightened feelings of loneliness. On the other hand, older adults, enriched by life experiences and established social circles, are generally more resilient.
Combatting Loneliness: Strategies and Solutions While almost half of the participants claimed to be free from loneliness, the remaining expressed varying levels. The silver lining? The innate human propensity for social connection remains undeterred post-pandemic. Dr. Rokach advocates for proactive engagement – be it volunteering, joining courses, or simply cherishing solitude. “Isolation isn’t synonymous with loneliness,” he emphasizes.
Dr. Olivia Remes from the University of Cambridge spotlights the pivotal role of social networks in human wellness. While many lean on social media as a bridge, passive engagement, or mere scrolling, might exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and isolation. Active digital participation, she suggests, can be a vital tool in mitigating feelings of loneliness.