Mental Health

Is There A Loneliness Epidemic Among Younger Generations?

New studies suggested that there is no loneliness epidemic in the U.S. and other countries. Researchers said that older adults to date are even less lonely than generations before them.

The studies, published by the American Psychological Association, debunked claims that there has been a growing loneliness among baby boomers. Researchers found that many people at ages between 55 and 75 are still being accompanied or connected, CNN reported Tuesday

"Headlines have said there's been an uptick in loneliness, likely because research shows more people are not married, aren't civically or socially involved and are living alone," Louise Hawkley, lead study author and a senior scientist at the research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, said. "But our data found loneliness decreased from age 50 to about the mid-70s."

The other study, conducted in the Netherlands, provided similar results. It shows the older Dutch population is not facing loneliness epidemic, and people in their 50s and 60s are actually less lonely to date. 

Loneliness Epidemic In The Future

However, researchers noted loneliness may soon start growing, potentially leading to a real epidemic. That is because of the aging baby boomer population and the younger generation struggling with feelings of isolation.

Among older adults, loneliness significantly increases in their 80s and 90s. People at these ages are considered the "oldest-old."

Their loneliness spikes because of lost mobility, poorer health and deaths of spouses, family and friends, researchers said. To date, the oldest baby boomers in the U.S. are 73 years old. 

Loneliness In Younger Generations

Another factor that may contribute to loneliness epidemic in the future is the growing prevalence of loneliness among young people under age 25. One research with 1,200 people in the U.S. showed that one in three youth in their 20s or younger already felt lonely.

"Our research shows that loneliness is a subjective mental state rather than an age-related symptom," Stephanie Cacioppo, director of the Brain Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, said. "Loneliness does not discriminate. Everyone is at risk."

Researchers in the United Kingdom also found 40 percent of youth, ages 16 to 24, felt lonely "often or very often" in the past. Hawkley also highlighted in their study that “loneliness is real” and it can negatively affect health, well-being and cognition.

Senior Citizen New studies showed that older adults are now less lonely than generations before them despite reports of loneliness epidemic in the U.S. Pixabay