One in four people in the CAPV feel an undesired solitude

Yolanda González-Rábago and Unai Martin, members of the OPIK research team. Ed. UPV/EHU

From the point of view of public health, the prevalence of unwanted loneliness is a worrying issue.The OPIK research group of the UPV-EHU has investigated the prevalence that it has in the ACBC based on age and social inequalities, and has come to the conclusion that one in four people feel it, and has resolved that it has a great influence on physical and mental health, especially in young people. The researchers conclude the importance of designing interventions to reduce unwanted loneliness, even for young people.

Unwanted solitude is defined as the feeling that produces the difference between the real characteristics of our social network and those we desire. And they have seen that in people who feel alone the prevalence of mental health is four times higher. International studies have shown that loneliness is associated with a higher mortality, a higher risk of hypertension and coronary diseases, mental health problems, and a higher probability of harmful behaviors for health.

Analyzing the data of 5,700 people, OPIK researchers have clarified that the risk of feeling alone is different by sex and socioeconomic position. 29,7% of women and 23.3% of ACBC men have an undesired sense of solitude. Therefore, the prevalence is higher in women (30% higher than that of men) and is significantly higher among social class people linked to handicrafts.Unai Martin has pointed out, however, that "solitude does not only affect older people. The prevalence is higher since the age of 80, but it affects the health of people between 25 and 44 years.”

Need for interventions to reduce loneliness

According to Unai Martin, the results of the study have left significant consequences for interventions to reduce and prevent unwanted solitude, highlighting the importance of the life cycle and social inequalities. With a great impact on health, it is worth targeting this problem and starting to think about why you just feel so many people.

The research is prior to the covid-19 pandemic. If before there was a feeling of loneliness, imagine what the situation will be in the crisis that we live in, since little has been taken into account the impact that the management of the epidemic is having on the health of people, beyond the pollution. This social isolation that we are suffering can be generating a great impact on health,” Martínez believes.


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