January 16, 2019

Lonely America: Half of Americans Are Lonely

03 May 2018, 06:34 | Rodolfo Wallace

Lonely America: Half of Americans Are Lonely

Loneliness is on the rise in the U.S. particularly among younger people such as members of Generation Z born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s and millennials just a little bit older

Young adults are much more likely to report feeling lonely and in poor health compared to senior citizens, a survey shows.

The latest poll also revealed that the country's average score when it comes to loneliness is 44, which means that most adult Americans are lonely.

The survey, conducted by market research firm Ipsos, employed the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a questionnaire that assesses subjective feelings of loneliness and isolation. The percentage of lonely people in Orlando is pretty close to the national percentage.

The study used the UCLA Loneliness Scale to measure and evaluate responses.

They cite a 2010 report that loneliness has the same effect on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. However, Cordani says that "meaningful social interaction" is the key to drawing down isolation rates so that there are more face-to-face conversations.

Nearly half (47%) of Austin residents sometimes or always feel their relationships with others are not meaningful. While it's hard to compare the loneliness scores in different studies, she says, other nationally representative estimates have found between 20 percent and 43 percent of Americans report feeling lonely or socially isolated. "But also, when someone is lonely, it can impact how they take care of themselves, how they eat, manage their medicines and stay active, which can all lead to worse health outcomes". "We typically as that question and expect people to say 'I'm good, '" she said.

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Several studies in recent years, including ones by Holt-Lunstad, have documented the public health effect of loneliness.

Past research has also linked loneliness to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, weaker immune system, and slower recovery from cancer. The younger people, part of Generation Z, had loneliness scores of about 48 compared with almost 39 for those 72 and older.

Because as this growing field of research shows, people who feel lonely are not alone. But the group most at risk isn't the oldest generation - it's one of the youngest. The average loneliness score for someone alone is 43.5, and with others in the household, it only rises to about 46.4. Many medical symptoms are associated with lifestyle, mental health issues, and behavioral problems like loneliness.

Dr. Cheryl Bemel is a psychologist with Health Partners.

Cigna wants to work with employers to "help address loneliness in the workplace", says Nemecek. Younger people also reported higher levels of shyness, while older adults reported feeling more outgoing.

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