July 06, 2017

One is the loneliest number. / Credit: Mussi Katz / Flickr / Creative Commons

In order to thrive, meaningful time with other people might be more important than you think. John Cacioppo and Dhruv Khullar discuss the impact of loneliness on our health, and life spans. And, Cacioppo says, the impact is profound. Loneliness increases the odds of premature mortality by 26% - about the same effect that chronic obesity has. But it can be much harder to diagnose.

Three Takeaways:

  • Many people feel lonely when they’re at an unfamiliar moment in their lives. This graph shows the groups that most adults surround themselves with at different stages in their lives. The elderly are particularly at risk for loneliness.
  • Between 30 and 40 percent of people say that they feel lonely at least some of the time -- but admitting to loneliness can still be a source of shame.
  • Programs that are aimed at building community (such as linkAges) help to foster a village-like environment, attempting to alleviate loneliness.

More Reading:

Kara Miller, innovation hub, loneliness, WGBH, John Cacioppo, pri, Dhruv Khullar

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