What is Loneliness;this is very interesting question.Loneliness is the unpleasant emotional experience that occurs when a person’s social relationships are deficient in an important way. The problem may be one of quantity: loneliness can stem from the lack of a close relationship or a circle of friends. Or the problem may be one of quality: loneliness may occur when a person’s relations are superficial, conflict- ridden, or fail in other ways to satisfy important psycho- logical needs. n the basis of in-depth interviews.
Robert Weiss (1973) identified two kinds of loneliness. Emotional loneliness results from the loss or absence of an emotional attachment to one special person, such as a romantic partner or best friend. Social loneliness results from the loss or absence of social ties to friends, coworkers, or neighbors. Each type of loneliness can be extremely painful, including symptoms of restlessness and depression. One sort of relationship cannot readily substitute for another in alleviating loneliness. Thus, a man suffering from the breakup of his marriage will feel painfully lonely even though he may have supportive friends at work.
Similarly, people who have close emotional attachments may still feel great loneliness if they lack a network of friends or feel alienated from their community. As a happily married new bride, Kim went with her husband to a military post in a remote area of Alaska. Although Mike quickly developed close ties to his buddies at work, Kim desperately missed her friends and neighbors back home. As she gradually made friends with ocher wives at [he military base, her social loneliness diminished.
An important step in studying loneliness scientifically was to develop standardized ways to measure the overall amount of loneliness a person is experiencing. Survey researchers often ask very direct questions. For instance, a question on an opinion survey might ask, “During the past two weeks, how often have you felt severely lonely or remote from other people?” Respondents would select as their answer “always,” “often,” “sometimes,” or “never.”
Other researchers have developed multi-item loneliness tests that provide a more precise assessment of the degree to which a person feels lonely.
The UCLA Loneliness Scale
It is a widely used test. It contains twenty statements. Ten describe negative feelings and thoughts that people may have when they are lonely, and ten describe positive aspects of a satisfying social relationship. How would you answer the sample questions listed in the table? Using measures such as these, researchers have begun to chart the impact Of loneliness on mental and physical health and to examine the factors that lead to loneliness.
Loneliness and Health;
When loneliness is severe and persists for a long time, it can be harmful to our health. Lonely people are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety and to abuse alcohol or drugs. Severe loneliness can also contribute to suicide. A 1990 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated that I million American high school students—one of the groups at greatest risk for loneliness—had at- tempted suicide during the previous year.
Lonely people are also more likely to report physical complaints, such as headaches, poor appetite, and sleep problems. Loneliness may even affect the body’s immune system—our ability to fight off infections We do not yet understand fully how loneliness affects the immune system. It is possible that loneliness, like other sorts of psychological stress, directly impairs the body’s defenses. It is also possible that lonely people behave in unhealthy ways—drinking too much alcohol, eating poorly, getting too little sleep—that in turn harm their Immune system.
Loneliness and the lack of social relationships are also associated with a higher risk of death. The researchers then followed these individuals for two years. Their results were striking. The people who were loneliest at the initial testing were significantly more likely than other old people to move from their own home to an institution or to die during the two-year period. The support of friends and relatives can benefit us in many ways such as helping us to remember to take a prescribed drug or stay on a diet, assisting us to relax and weather the stress of illness, and encouraging us to maintain a sense of humor and optimism about life.
What Is Loneliness; How To Overcome Loneliness.
people who are shy or who are relatively unskilled in interacting with others are especially prone to loneliness because they have trouble making or keeping friends. One approach to curing loneliness, therefore, is to help people develop the social skills needed in friendship or dating. Teaching people to be good listeners, to share personal information without dominating a conversation, and to show interest in others can be helpful.
Learning social skills may be especially valuable to friendless children. Psychologists Stephen Nowicki and Marshall Duke describe children who are unable to decipher the nonverbal messages of other people, who fail to notice a change in the tone of voice or body language of another child.
Another common factor in loneliness is low self-esteem. There is evidence that thinking poorly of oneself can lead to loneliness people with low self-esteem may be less willing to take risks in social settings and more prone to keep to themselves. Learning to like themselves can help lonely people improve their social relations.
On the other hand, the experience of being lonely for a long rime may lead an otherwise self-confident person to see himself or herself as a social failure and so may cause a drop in the person’s self-evaluation. Far from being a sign of weakness, loneliness is a manifestation of basic needs for social relationships—needs we all share. That’s why the only real cure for loneliness is to create relationships that provide.
The human resources necessary far psychological health.also needs to be closely scrutinized. What does it really mean for a relationship to be “significant”? How were each of the two variables measured? What group of subjects was used in computing this relationship? The importance of the psychologist’s findings for you depends on the answers to questions like these. In the next few pages we will take a brief tour of some of the statistical tools that psychologists and other scientists use to help describe and interpret their observations.