Age adjusted to the feeling of loneliness

Factors associated with the emergence of feelings of loneliness, dependent on age. It found Dutch scientists who analyzed data on more than 26 thousands of Dutch people aged 19 to 65 years. It turned out, for example, that ethnicity alone is associated is stronger in younger and middle age, but the health of the elderly. In addition, socializing with friends, the loneliness was most strongly associated at a young age, but communicating with the family — on average, write the scholars in BMC Public Health.

That loneliness is one of the risk factors for developing various problems with both mental and physical health, indicate a study. All of them, however, often focused only on one specific age group that correctly: the emergence of feelings of loneliness at different ages can influence absolutely different factors.

The degree of influence of these factors on different age groups is not always clear — largely because most such studies focus on people of the same age. To examine this issue more decided by scientists under the leadership of Tanya Franssen (Thanée Franssen) from Maastricht University. They asked 26342 Dutch to fill in a short survey to determine the General, emotional and social loneliness. In addition to the standard issues related to loneliness (e.g., “please Rate how often you feel rejected”), the researchers also collected demographic data of volunteers, information about education, family situation, about who the participants are living, how often they communicate with family and friends and how to assess their own health.

Participants were divided into three groups by age: young people (19 to 34 years), middle-aged (35 to 49) and elderly (50 to 65; the researchers themselves use the term “late middle age”). According to the test results alone were 39.7 per cent of young people, 43.3 per cent of middle-aged people, and 48.2% of people from the oldest group.

The most significant factors affecting the feeling of loneliness at a young age, turned out to be ethnicity and the lack of financial stability (among participants of non-Dutch origin and participants without a steady income were lonely were two times more). Also more lonely and feel young people with unstable psychological state, but with physical health loneliness was associated only in old age: healthy people feel lonely on average 22 percent less.

The average age ethnicity is also determined by the sense of loneliness, but in the oldest age group the effect was less. In addition, at a young age, communication with family was not associated with loneliness, but in middle and old age more lonely felt by those who communicated with family members less than two times a week. With age also decreased the relationship between socializing with friends and loneliness.

The authors confirmed that the feeling of loneliness can be linked to a variety of factors — and their impact changes with age. Of course, any causality of the question: according to scientists, to install it, you need to provide the same extensive research, but the long-term.

I must say that on cause-effect relationships in psychological studies generally speaking quite rare: almost always we are talking only about correlation. However, there is one method that actually indicates a causal relationship — Mendelian randomization, which is carried out in genetic studies. Recently, with the help of this method managed to find out, for example, that the feeling of loneliness leads Smoking.

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