Loneliness in the COVID-19 Era

“, said lead author of the study Mareike Ernst by Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz in Germany.

Given the small effect size, dire warnings of a ‘pandemic of loneliness’ may be overblown. However, because loneliness constitutes a risk factor for premature death and for mental and physical health, it should be closely monitored.

The researchers wanted to find out whether changes like lockdowns, physical distancing, and the shift to remote work and school during the pandemic increase people’s loneliness.

Social isolation means having a small social network and having little interaction with others, while loneliness is the painful feeling of having less or less quality social connection than one would like.. Some studies have found only a weak correlation between these two factors.

Does the COVID-19 pandemic lead to loneliness?

To find out whether the pandemic is increasing loneliness, researchers looked at 34 studies from four continents, mainly in North America and Europe, with more than 200,000 participants. The study was published in the journal American psychologist.

The data all came from long-term studies that measured how lonely participants were before the pandemic broke out and again during the pandemic.

The researchers found a small but significant increase in loneliness during the pandemic, with loneliness rates increasing by about 5% in individual studies on average. However, not all groups experienced that increase.

More research is needed into the factors that put some individuals and groups at greater risk of loneliness, whether changes in loneliness are primarily due to changes in the quality or quantity of people’s social interactions. people, and whether those changes differ between subpopulations, such as students and older adults.

Such studies could help researchers develop better targeted interventions to increase people’s amount of social interaction or improve the quality of their close relationships.

Because the majority of the studies included in this review came from high- and middle-income countries, further research should also investigate whether the pandemic is leading to an increase in loneliness in these countries. low and moderate income.

Source: Medindia

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