More Data on Social Isolation

Our Social Capital/Social Justice Conversation Group met this morning and as is typical for our monthly discussions examined the powerful and negative effects caused by social isolation.  One of our members shared a recent report done by Cigna that looked at the driving behaviors associated with social isolation.  It is a new and fresh analysis culled from interviews with 20,000 Americans.

You can find the results with a google search but wanted to share some of the high points with you in this blog.  First and foremost is that social isolation is now deemed a public health crisis and is on the rise.  They summarize that loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it more dangerous than obesity.  In fact, their study, which used the UCLA Loneliness Scale and was conducted online, found that most Americans are considered lonely.  The study revealed:

*  Generation Z (adults 18-22) and Millennials (adults 23-37) are lonelier and claim to be in worse health than older generations.

*  Social media use alone is not a predictor of loneliness

*  Students have higher loneliness scores than retirees

*  There was no major difference between men and women and no major difference between races when it cam to average loneliness scores.

*  Individuals who are less lonely are more likely to have regular in-person interactions, are in good overall physical and mental health, have found a balance in their daily activities, and are employed

*  When asked how often they feel like no one knows them well, more than half of the respondents (54%) surveyed said they feel that way always or sometimes

*  Just under half of all those surveyed report sometimes or always feeling alone (46%) and/or feeling left out (47%)

*  At least two in five surveyed sometimes or always feel as though they lack companionship (43%), that their relationships are not meaningful (43%), that they are isolated from others (43%), and/or that they are no longer close to anyone (39%).

These are powerful findings, especially in the light of a world where most of us have hundreds of friends or followers on Facebook or Twitter.  So, how lonely or isolated are you - and more, what can you do about it?