Over 3,000 people in the U.S. over 45 years of age were surveyed in a study of loneliness (sponsored by AARP). The survey measured loneliness using the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Participants who scored 44 points or more were defined as "lonely", while those scoring 43 or less were defined as "not lonely".
Coping Strategies and Loneliness
Lonely people were more likely to cope with feelings of loneliness by:
Lonely people were also more likely to use drugs to cope with loneliness than non-lonely people (5% vs. <1%).
Non-lonely people were more likely to cope with feelings of loneliness by:
Lonely and non-lonely people were equally likely to cope with loneliness by:
Predictors of Loneliness
Lonely people were more likely to:
Non-lonely people more likely to:
Lonely and non-lonely people had comparable levels of education.
Loneliness and Medical Issues
To sum it up, having human contact does seem to decrease loneliness. Even just surrounding yourself with people in an organized setting (such as a club or organization) helps.
Wilson, C. & Moulton, B. (2010). Loneliness among older adults: A national survey of adults 45+. Prepared by Knowledge Networks and Insight Policy Research. Washington DC: AARP.
(Disclaimer: I'm not related to this Moulton. Not that I'm aware of, anyway.)
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