We humans have never been more connected than we are in the modern age of social media and mobile communication; However, loneliness is a common and harmful feeling in this era. Now the question is, when does being alone become lonely? According to a new studyLoneliness and feeling alone are much less connected than you might think.
David Esbarra“We are learning more and more about the importance of social connections to human health, and it appears that loneliness and isolation are related but distinct concepts,” said lead author of the recent study from the University of Arizona.
By the way Mathias Mehl“The first thing that needed to be done was to develop a robust measure of how much time people spend alone,” another study author said. In their research, the research team used a previously invented method called an “electronically active recorder” or “EAR”. This method works with the help of a smartphone app and records a 30-second audio of the participants every 12 minutes. With this, researchers can find out if a person is driving, talking to a stranger, or watching TV.
More than 400 participants aged 24 to 90 participated in the recent study, and EAR was active for between two and six days for each of them. Data on EAR were also collected from previous research to help the study authors have a larger sample. After analyzing the data, a clear age-related trend began to emerge. According to Mehl, being alone and lonely are completely separate phenomena for young people; However, among older people there is a clear connection between the two.
According to Spara, their research showed that among adults aged 68 and older, loneliness and social isolation are strongly related to each other. In the group of study participants, there was about 25% overlap between loneliness and loneliness. This finding is in stark contrast to the result for all participants, which indicated a 3% overlap between loneliness and loneliness.
One of the proposed theories is that older people tend to have fewer and more meaningful social ties; Therefore, losing these connections has a more significant impact on their health and leads to loneliness. On the other hand, young people are more inclined to socialize for various reasons and do not necessarily equate being with other people to a deeply meaningful social experience.
According to the researchers’ findings, while people spend an average of 66% of their time alone, people who have increased this amount to over 75% are more likely to feel lonely; However, there were also lower levels of loneliness in people who spent less time alone. According to the authors, although no definite conclusions can be drawn from the data, this may be due to the tendency of people who feel extremely lonely to seek more social interactions to combat this feeling.