The overall national loneliness score was alarmingly high at 44 on a 20-to-80 scale, but the prevalence of social isolation among those ages 18 to 22 raises even more concern. The younger people, part of Generation Z, had loneliness scores of about 48 compared with nearly 39 for those 72 and older.
VIDEO: [KING5 News] Details on the study: 20,000 surveyed; 20 questions each
The study was sponsored by the global insurer and health services company Cigna, which is concerned about loneliness as a societal problem but also because it’s not just making us sad: It can literally make us sick.
Loneliness actually has the same effect on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, which makes it even more dangerous than obesity, says Cigna, citing a 2010 report. And while the new findings don’t draw any direct links to increased rates of suicide among teens or the opioid epidemic, Cigna CEO David Cordani says it’s clear addressing loneliness will help solve other problems.
“If their sense of health and well-being is more positive, then less destructive activities transpire,” Cordani says.
The market research firm Ipsos posed questions online between Feb. 21 to March 6 to more than 20,000 people 18 and older in the U.S. The questions were based on UCLA’s Loneliness Scale and used to create the Cigna Loneliness Index.
Also surprising: Young people with the highest rates of social media use reported very similar feelings of loneliness to those who barely use it, Still, Cordani says, “meaningful social interaction” was seen as key to reducing isolation so more face-to-face conversations are needed.
This article continues at [USA Today] Young Americans are the loneliest, surprising study from Cigna shows