Under the Hood

Young Adults And Loneliness: The Alarming Discovery

Loneliness is real and, unfortunately, it may be here to stay.

This is what researchers and policy-makers are starting to realize, what with recent studies revealing that loneliness is a social and health issue of significant public importance and one that more people should be aware of.

For example, in 2018, the U.K. government appointed its first ever “Minister for Loneliness,” which then resulted in an 84-page national “Strategy for Tackling Loneliness.” Of course, this would then prompt other research initiatives, such as the creation of the government-funded and University College London-based Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network.

And while loneliness is a problem felt by many, its recognition has put it on the public agenda, with researches exploring its many causes, interventions and consequences.

Loneliness Rates

Back in 2019, a survey by YouGov included 1,000 U.S. adults who were asked about social isolation and loneliness. The findings were interesting because 29 percent of them answered that they felt lonely, while 27 percent said that they felt like they had no friends. Men were also reported to be lonelier than women based on the findings.

A survey made by Cigna was also made this month, which included around 10,000 U.S. adults. Based on the results, the survey found that over 70 percent of young adults reported that they feel alone a lot of time. They also reported feeling shy, as well as that no one understands them.

What causes this?

Per experts, there are several, yet the biggest culprit is most likely social media, especially since this is the same group that uses it a lot.

In fact, various studies have already highlighted how social media can play a big role in worsening someone’s mental health, with surveys revealing that heavy social media users are three times more likely to be depressed than those who only use it occasionally. This may be due to the fact that social media always produce curated profiles that only show the good side of people’s lives, causing others to compare their lives to it. Cyberbullying is also quite common, with an increasing number of people spending more time on their phone than they do socializing face-to-face with friends.

Other researchers also pointed to the “hook-up culture” as another culprit, as well as wider social changes that is marked by a decrease in informal socializing.  As such, necessary actions are needed in order to curb this growing social issue.

Loneliness Loneliness is linked to increased health risks and susceptibility to self-destructive behavior. Kinga Cichewicz/Unsplash

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