Evidence shows that living alone and lacking social connections is a health concern. The effects of loneliness are comparable to the other well-known risk factors such as obesity and smoking.

Campaign to End Loneliness[1] states:

  • Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)
  • Loneliness, living alone, and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness is worse for you than obesity. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness and social isolation are associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke[2]
  • Loneliness and social isolation put individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia[3]
  • The survey results indicate that 16-24 year olds experience loneliness more often and more intensely than any other age group. 40% of respondents aged 16-24 reported feeling lonely often or very often, while only 29% of people aged 65-74 and 27% of people aged over 75 said the same.[4]

[1] https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/the-facts-on-loneliness/

[2] Valtorta, N.K., Kanaan, M., Gilbody, S., Ronzi, S. and Hanratty, B., 2016. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studies. Heart, 102(13), pp.1009-1016.

[3] Cacioppo, J.T. and Cacioppo, S., 2014. Older adults reporting social isolation or loneliness show poorer cognitive function 4 years later. Evidence-based nursing, 17(2), pp.59-60.

[4] https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2018/loneliest-age-group-radio-4