Loneliness can be considered as an emotional issue. In fact, “loneliness is a social disease and as any disease can be contagious, making us more and more isolated”. At least, this is the conclusion of different studies conducted by prestigious universities such as “University of Chicago”, “University of California-San Diego” and “Harvard”.
Studies were conducted on a group of about 12,000 people. Perhaps the result seems stunning and a little scary but these lonely people managed to infect their friends with their loneliness, before separating, which perpetuates an isolation cycle.
So, loneliness is contagious and is spreading quite quickly today. The explanation is simple. Even if a lonely person seeks and starts a social connection, sooner or later this relationship is doomed, due to his “particular way” to behave.
One of the eminent professors from the “University of Chicago” , psychologist John Cacioppo, says that “loneliness is a sensitivity to social rejection”. In this, way, a person lonely brain becomes increasingly more alert to social threats.
In fact, one thing leads to another. A lonely person is also a shy person. Being shy, he is less confident and is becoming increasingly, social awkward, hostile and anxious. Authors have published these conclusions in “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”.
Loneliness on groups of people
Loneliness is greater in women than in men. Not only that; women can catch and spread “this disease” more quickly than men.
Also, couples and siblings are less exposed to “infection”. Also, it is curious that this feeling of loneliness has no effect on a sibling to another. Most vulnerable are singles.
Worrying is the fact that the more a person is older, so does his health is more affected by loneliness. Here, we need to take into account that human being is essentially a social species. Thus, loneliness is an unnatural state, so the result will damage the health of the person affected.
Loneliness will increase the risks of serious diseases such as depression, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, alcoholism and obesity.
How loneliness spreads
Loneliness spreads through all around, through three specific degrees of separation. Researches were conducted on various groups of people.
1| People prone to loneliness are more affected, with at least 52%, if people are in contact (at one degree of separation), are also prone to loneliness.
2| They were more affected with another 25% – at two degrees of separation.
3| At three degrees of separation, another 15%.
4| At four degrees the loneliness feeling disappeared.
What stands out in these studies is that today loneliness is not only individual experiences; it is something more serious, namely “a stigmatized complex group dynamic”.
Unfortunately, this “disease” gets worse in our contemporary society. It may seem fateful, but increasingly more people are prone to loneliness. Everything is leading to this situation. We are postponing entering a marriage; we are divorcing more often and we are living longer. Therefore, our culture and our today’s society is extremely vulnerable to loneliness.
It is up to each of us to change this negative course. Changing the mentality of a society can only, be achieved by changing the mentality of the individual.