Connect with Others to Overcome Loneliness

Teens and adolescents say they feel lonely and sad because they have no one to connect with, according to a BBC Radio 4 global loneliness survey conducted in October 2018.

"Loneliness is a signal from the body," said Gerine Lodder, author and loneliness researcher, "telling us that we need to connect with others. Humans are built to be with others."

For decades, researchers pointed to older people as significantly more lonely than other age groups. Today, new research shows that the 16-24-year-old population is the loneliest age group in society, according to a BBC radio 4 global study.

Loneliness in older people is primarily attributed to several life-changing factors.  For example, many seniors experience changes such as the absence of a spouse or a partner, higher functional limitations that prevent them from being mobile, and fewer peers to socialize with.

Ms. Lodder told a TedX audience that the feeling of lacking something in our social life is a feeling that everyone has experienced. But there are two peaks of loneliness in life: one in the elderly and the other in the adolescents, between 12-25.

In studies completed by John M. Ernst and John T. Cacioppo, we learned that loneliness is associated with depression, hostility, pessimism, social withdrawal, alienation, shyness, and low positive affect.  (

The quality of social relationships such as social activities, number of friends, contact frequency, living arrangement, and time spent alone are all indicators of loneliness among adolescents, the study revealed.  Additional indicators such as failure, rejection, guilt, loss, and fear are risk factors associated with loneliness.

Consequently, loneliness is considered a threat to mental health, physical health, and academic performance.  For this reason, paying attention to the social health of teens is paramount.


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