Fact Sheet: Isolation and Loneliness


Health risks associated with loneliness and social isolation are comparable to the dangers of smoking and obesity, increasing mortality risk by up to 30%. Feeling alone increases the risk of death by 26%, while social isolation and living alone increases mortality risk by 29% and 32%, respectively, according to a March 2015 study.

  • Social connections have a profound influence on risk for mortality and are associated with a 50% reduced risk of early death.
  • Loneliness is as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad.
    Loneliness affects more than one-third of American adults, with particular likelihood among individuals facing challenging life circumstances like loss of a loved one, and chronic or catastrophic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, mental illness or cancer.
  • Loneliness has negative effects on mental health, worsening depression, anxiety, mood disorders and cognitive decline, and on physical health, leading to higher rates cardiovascular impairment, chronic pain, and fatigue.
  • Certain age groups, notably adolescents, young adults and older adults seem to be particularly at risk as marked by growing incidence of depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
  • External factors may be accelerating the crisis; research indicates, for instance, Internet and social media engagement exacerbate feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety, according to a 2014 annual survey of college students.
  • Here’s a 2018 overview of current research on the public health risks of isolation and loneliness.

Selected Reading:

 

On the Radio! Listen Now:

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, Founder and President of The Foundation for Art & Healing, joins host Janeane Bernstein on KUCI 88.9fm

Film Festival

Explore how we're inviting filmmakers and sponsors to engage with The UnLonely Project!

Join our Community!

We'd love to keep you keep you in the loop with the latest news and events, activities we're working on, and opportunities for you to participate. 

Subscribe today!

Thanks for joining our Community! We'll keep in touch and you can do the same by sending us a message at any time.