Contrary to common notion that old people feel the loneliest, a new study, in a sad finding revealed that young people are the most affected by loneliness. The study carried out by BBC Radio 4’s All In The Mind in collaboration with Wellcome Collection found out that 40 per cent of people aged 16-24 say they feel lonely often or very often, compared to 29 per cent of 65-74-year-olds and 27 per cent of those aged over 75.
The study, carried out by academics at the University of Manchester, Brunel University London, and the University of Exeter, assessed 55,000 people aged 16 and over, asking them about their attitudes and personal experiences of loneliness.
In addition to ages 16 and 24 who struggle to share their emotions which can lead to a feeling of isolation, researchers found that the loneliest ones tended to have more ‘online only’ friends on social media.
The study also revealed that the stigma of being lonely which can lead to you further withholding emotions is different between men and women, with women feeling even more shame than their opposite sex. The study however adds that with age, the feelings of being ashamed surrounding loneliness decrease with age. Despite caring less for the stigma surrounding loneliness decrease with age, the study adds that older people say they're more likely to try and hide their loneliness than younger people.
Commenting on the findings, Pamela Qualter, Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester, who led the study, says, “For me, the most interesting findings relate to the stigma of loneliness and the varied solutions people had to overcome loneliness.
“Those findings suggest that we need to be kinder to ourselves when we feel disconnected from others, but also that there is a whole toolkit of potential solutions that we can try.”