Loneliness is detrimental to your health

Loneliness has been tied to a number of psychological and physical maladies, including:

  • a lowered immune response (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 1985).
  • depression, 
  • tend to get more affected and upset by stressful life events eg Women who had to give birth alone without a companion by their side found the birthing experience more difficult than those with companions. Also, the ones who were alone tended to have more complications and longer births (19.3 hours for lone women vs 8.8 hours on average for women who had support).
  • drug and alcohol abuse,
  • sleep disturbances,
  • headaches,
  • more visits to medical doctors, 
  • shorter life expectancy
  • increased mortality in nursing homes
  • loners had significantly higher rates of cancer than their more sociable and outgoing classmates (Shaffer, Graves-Pirrko, Swank, & Pearson, 1987).
  • After a heart attack, relapses were more prevalent amongst people living alone. Rates of relapses were 16% in people living alone vs 9% in people not living alone (Case, Moss, & Case, 1992).

Sources: Introduction to Social Psychology: Jones & Carver, 1991; Takahashi, Tamura, & Tokoro, 1997; Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 1985; Buunk & Verhoeven, 1991; Sarason, Sarason, & Gurung, 1997

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