American Loneliness on the Rise; Youth Have the Heaviest Burden


Kyle Garneau

We’ve all had that feeling, that feeling of being sad because you’re alone; however the chronic feeling of loneliness is on the rise for many Americans and it’s affecting their lives and their state of mind. A recent Cigna survey reported that nearly 50% of those who responded said they felt lonely or left out all the time or sometimes. The survey was conducted online and was answered by 20,000 Americans all over the country. One of the best tests, the UCLA loneliness scale, was used. Over half of the respondents also felt that most people did not know them well or that the people around them “didn’t know them well.” To be considered lonely, the taker would have to score a 43 and the average was 44.

Although the research is blurred, there are correlations between loneliness and the impact on a person’s mental and physical health. Loneliness has been linked to coronary heart disease. It has also been shown to slow down recovery from those infected with breast cancer.  Striking evidence also has it as a real contributor to premature death, not just for the elderly, but for those in their youth as well.

The Cigna study also discovered that the youth are more lonely than their parents or the elderly. Generation Z (Born late 90s, early 00s) scored an average of 48.3 on the scale, while the next youngest generation, millennials, received an average of 45.3. Baby boomers scored 42.4 and the greatest generation (72+) scored 38.6. Many studies report to social media and screen time as the main culprit. There’s a strong assumption in the psychology community that screen time has created a rise in depression and suicidal tendencies. As the weather warms up, we should all get outside with one another. Our lives may depend on it.