Loneliness is a heavy burden to carry. And, as it seems, nearly half the nation can vouch for that judging by the latest Cigna research.
A nationwide survey conducted by the health insurance company revealed that Americans are battling a loneliness epidemic, which plagues nearly half the people living in the United States.
Surprisingly, the research found that older people are less likely to fall prey to loneliness, which seems to hit millennials and Generation Z members the hardest.
Cigna points out that loneliness has reached an epidemic state in the U.S., and that it’s deeply impacting people’s mental wellness and vitality. This nationwide blight stems from a lack of personal interactions and is more striking in the younger generations, notes a BusinessWire news release.
In fact, the Cigna survey points out that Generation Z, comprising people aged 18 to 22, “is the loneliest generation” and appears to be in worse mental health than the older generations.
The company surveyed 20,000 adults all across the U.S. aged 18 and older, who were given 20-item online questionnaires specifically designed to assess subjective feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
Their answers were evaluated based on the UCLA Loneliness Scale, one of the best-known academic tools for measuring loneliness, which employs a series of statements and formula to calculate a loneliness score.
A score between 20 and 80 is an indication of loneliness; the higher the score, the more acutely loneliness is experienced by the respondents, explains NPR.
According to the results, only 53 percent of Americans are socially active and have meaningful conversations with friends or spend quality time with their families every day.
Two in five Americans, or 43 percent, reported that they feel isolated, lack companionship, and feel their relationships are not meaningful. At the same time, about one in four respondents, or 27 percent, revealed that they don’t feel truly understood by others. Additionally, 20 percent of Americans said they don’t feel close to other people and that they don’t have someone to talk to.
The survey revealed that sharing your home with others improves your chances of not feeling alone; Americans living with roommates or family members had an average loneliness score of 43.5.
However, single parents or guardians scored highest on the UCLA scale despite having little ones running around all day long; this group of respondents raked up a median 48.2 points.
At the end of the day, older people fared better on the UCLA scale. People aged 72 and above, also known as the Greatest Generation, had the lowest score on the loneliness scale: 38.6. Baby boomers were not far behind, scoring 42.4.
By comparison, millennials had an overall loneliness score of 45.3, while members of Generation Z scored a whopping 48.3.