Feeling Lonely? Being Alone is as Dangerous as Smoking or Obesity

by Adeline Dorcas on  January 13, 2020 at 1:06 PM Mental Health News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

Being lonely is as dangerous as smoking and obesity in reducing your life expectancy. However, fighting loneliness could improve your overall wellbeing and add more years to your life, even after retirement.
Feeling Lonely? Being Alone is as Dangerous as Smoking or Obesity
Feeling Lonely? Being Alone is as Dangerous as Smoking or Obesity

Loneliness rivals smoking and obesity in its impact on shortening longevity and has become a public health concern, especially for the older adults, say researchers.

Show Full Article


With older adults increasingly moving into senior living or retirement communities, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine sought to identify the common characteristics of residents who feel lonely in these environments.

The new study, published in the journal Aging and Mental Health, found that people's experience of living with loneliness is shaped by a number of personal and environmental factors.

Age-associated losses and inadequate social skills were considered primary risk factors for loneliness.

"Some residents talked about the loss of spouses, siblings and friends as the cause of their loneliness. Others mentioned how making new friends in a senior community cannot replace deceased friends they grew up with," said Alejandra Paredes, a research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

The feeling of loneliness was frequently associated with a lack of purpose in life.

Others expressed a sense of "not being attached, not having very much meaning and not feeling very hopeful" or "being lost and not having control".

The research team also found that wisdom, including compassion, seemed to be a factor that prevented loneliness.

Other protective factors were acceptance of aging and comfort with being alone.

To reach this conclusion, researchers conducted individual interviews of 30 adults of ages 67-92, part of an overall study evaluating the physical, mental and cognitive functions of 100 older adults living in the independent living sector of a senior housing community in San Diego.

"It is important that we identify the underlying causes of loneliness from the seniors' own perspectives so we can help resolve it and improve the overall health, well-being and longevity of our aging population," suggested senior author Dilip V. Jeste, senior Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Source: IANS

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

Recommended Reading

Premium Membership Benefits

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

News Category

News Archive