Loneliness is felt most intensely by young people, study finds (and turning to Facebook doesn't help)

Loneliness is felt most intensely by young people, study finds (and turning to Facebook doesn't help)Loneliness is felt most intensely by young people, according to the largest ever survey which found that turning to Facebook does not help. The survey of 55,000 people found that 16-24 year olds experience loneliness more often than any other age group. Two in five of those within this age group reported feeling lonely often or very often, compared to only 29 per cent of people aged 65-74 and 27 percent of those aged 75 or older. It found that people who report feeling lonely have more online-only Facebook friends than those who do not. The survey, which was conducted by BBC Radio 4’s All In The Mind in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust, raises a host of questions around whether or not youth loneliness is the product of the stresses of modern life or if our ability to deal with emotions increases with age. Claudia Hammond, the presenter of All In The Mind, told The Telegraph that she believes the research points to an “epidemic of lonelinessâ€� while challenging the notion of Britain as a nation of isolated pensioners living alongside highly social, tech-savvy youngsters. “I wondered whether there is something about the stress of modern life, or young people’s ability to cope with it, that makes them feel lonelier. Or is youth simply a time of life when people feel isolation most keenly?,â€� Hammond asked. “To help them to connect with others, young people today have social media. They are more connected than ever before. But this can bring its own problems. If you’re feeling lonely, looking at pictures of other people appearing to have endless fun isn’t going to help with those feelings of isolation.â€� However, Professor Pam Qualter from the University of Manchester, which helped compile the research, said the fact that young people were reporting more intense feelings of loneliness could indicate that the issue is in fact one of learning to cope. “You might not know at that age that you’re going to overcome this,â€� she said. “Throughout the life course, you begin to realise loneliness is a feeling that doesn’t last forever. Younger people experience loneliness more intensely because it might be the first time they’ve experienced it at all.â€� Professor Christina Victor, from Brunel University London, which was also involved in the survey, supported this view, saying the phenomenon of youth loneliness could simply have gone unreported until now. “For all we know, the loneliness of the young could be a continuation of a pattern dating back to the 1950s. It’s just we never bothered to ask,â€� she said. The survey – developed by academics at the University of Manchester, Brunel University London, and the University of Exeter, and supported by a grant from Wellcome – asked people to answer a range of online questions on their mental wellbeing. Professor Louise Arseneault from Kings College London, which has long studied loneliness, said she was not surprised by its findings. “I trust this data. It seems we have overlooked some issues in teenage years or young adulthood that could be responsible for feelings of isolation. We tend to think of those years as being about partying and making relationships but, actually, they’re not that easy. Historically, we’ve tended to ignore that,â€� she said.  The programme, recorded in front of a live audience at Wellcome Collection, will be broadcast on Monday at 8pm.


Source: Yahoo! News