Read the original widely sourced article in this breaking news. Psyche Central News reports that loneliness and social isolation could be a greater public health hazard than obesity, and their impact will continue to grow, citing new international research presented at the 125th annual convention of the American Psychological Association.
The article highlights that 43 million adults over age 45 in the US are estimated to be suffering from chronic loneliness, according to AARP’s Loneliness Study. It cites the most recent U.S. census data showing more than a quarter of the population living alone, with more than half of the population being unmarried, with declining marriage rates and children per household.
The research article is based on two very large meta studies involving hundreds of thousands of people, in both the US and internationally. It recommends greater priority being placed on research and resources to tackle this public health threat from the societal to the individual level. It targets, for example, greater emphasis on social skills training for children in schools and encouraging doctors to include social connectedness in medical screening.
It’s worth stopping and reflecting on the huge diversity in today’s society: nationality; geography; social background; race; class; religion; work orientation; incomes; families; education; age; lifestyle; sexuality; and dependence on alcohol and drugs, especially opioids. Against all these and many more sub-sets of variation, ‘one-size fits all’ treatment seems naively simplistic? Surely, there is no Best Practice to redress loneliness, irrespective of context? Perhaps, the American Psychological Association will extend the Twelve-Step Program to deal with loneliness, as well addict of alcohol and drugs?
Apart from certain cultures and religions, like Muslims where traditional and having children remain important, families life has been increasingly subordinated in many societies. In advanced societies financial difficulties, have led to greater dependence on alcohol and drugs. Perhaps, one of the greatest challenges is the difficulty in finding and keeping rewarding work to provide for families. Social media is responsible for people not talking. There seems to be increasing social pressures suggesting instant gratification, ‘have it now’, ‘don’t worry about tomorrow’s debts’ – pressures come from peers, powerful advertising, television and films.
For me, this is part of a wider collapse in our societies, with governments behind the curve. The elephant in the room is the increasing replacement of traditional work with technology. What ever happened to the Protestant Ethic and the American Dream?