Young People More Vulnerable to Loneliness Than Thought
Jim Liebelt Jim Liebelt's Blog
- 2020 Jun 15
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
Even with social media keeping more people connected than ever before, young people in many nations are more likely to feel lonely, British researchers report.
"Contrary to what people may expect, loneliness is not a predicament unique to older people," said lead researcher Manuela Barreto, from the University of Exeter, in England. "In fact, younger people report greater feelings of loneliness."
The findings come from an analysis of the responses of more than 46,000 people, aged 16 to 99, around the globe, who took part in the BBC Loneliness Experiment.
Because loneliness comes from a sense that one's social connections are not as good as hoped, the finding might reflect different expectations younger and older people have, Barreto noted.
"The age pattern we discovered seems to hold across many countries and cultures," Barreto said in a university news release.
The survey used responses from 237 countries, islands, and territories, which enabled the researchers to analyze cultural differences.
Barreto suggested that during the coronavirus pandemic, people should be on the lookout for how social changes are affecting young people.
"Though it is true that younger people are better able to use technology to access social relationships, it is also known than when this is done as a replacement -- rather than an extension -- of those relationships, it does not mitigate loneliness," she said.