Loneliness and Social Isolation

August 3, 2018 – Volume 28, Issue 28
Do they pose a growing health epidemic? By Christina L. Lyons



Cacioppo, John T., and William Patrick , Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection , W.W. Norton & Co., 2008. A University of Chicago neuroscientist (Cacioppo) and writer (Patrick) present Cacioppo's pioneering research on the effects of loneliness.

Klinenberg, Eric , Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life , Crown Publishing, 2018. A New York University sociology professor argues that the development of shared community spaces, such as parks and museums, can reduce social isolation and political polarization.

Laing, Olivia , The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone , Picador, 2016. An author's memoir depicts the painful isolation she endured while living in New York City.

Putnam, Robert D. , Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community , Simon & Schuster, 2000. A Harvard University public policy professor presents data showing how changes in work, family structure and suburban life, alongside a rise in technology, have disconnected Americans from family and friends and harmed the health of individuals and communities.


Brody, Jane E. , “The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Health,” The New York Times, Dec. 11, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y7yevwzw. Scientists are gaining a better understanding of the effects of loneliness and social isolation on health and studying ways to combat the problem.

Resnick, Brian , “Loneliness actually hurts us on a cellular level: A scientist explains how the pain of loneliness makes us sick,” Vox, Jan. 30, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y8wbrtsc. Steve Cole, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, details how loneliness leads to inflammation and a diminished ability to fight viruses.

Snell, Keith , “The rise of living alone and loneliness in history,” Social History, Jan. 6, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y9ye7aax. A professor of rural and cultural history at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom explores the history of family and household structure in Western culture since the 1800s and examines the issue of loneliness.

Twenge, Jean , “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” The Atlantic, September 2017, https://tinyurl.com/yd9pj5qu. A psychologist at San Diego State University argues that social-networking websites have contributed to teenagers’ increased feelings of loneliness.

Reports and Studies

“Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index: Survey of 20,000 Americans Examining Behaviors Driving Loneliness in the United States,” Cigna, May 2018, https://tinyurl.com/y6ue3pv6. A health insurer presents results of a survey that found more than half of Americans are lonely.

Holt-Lunstad, Julianne , “The Potential Public Health Relevance of Social Isolation and Loneliness: Prevalence, Epidemiology, and Risk Factors,” Public Policy & Aging Report, Jan. 2, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/ybosldyh. A Brigham Young University psychology professor summarizes evidence that social isolation and loneliness present greater risks for premature mortality than obesity.

Magnan, Sanne , “Social Determinants of Health 101 for Health Care: Five Plus Five,” National Academy of Medicine, Oct. 9, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y7vbz8dr. A senior fellow at the HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education in Bloomington, Minn., explains why medical providers should evaluate a patient's social life.

Parker, Kim , et al., “What Unites and Divides Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities,” Pew Research Center, May 2018, https://tinyurl.com/ybhapxv5. Analysts find little difference in attitudes among residents of rural, urban and suburban localities about their connection to neighbors and communities.


“Dr. Jon Hallberg on the health implication of loneliness,” May 11, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/y94mn6pq. An associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota discusses the link between loneliness and poor health.

“The Universal Solitude of Americans: Loneliness on the Rise,” NPR, May 2, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/ydfqec2y. Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, psychology professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University and Cigna chief medical officer Doug Nemecek discuss a survey of Americans and the health effects of isolation.

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Document APA Citation
Lyons, C. L. (2018, August 3). Loneliness and Social Isolation. CQ researcher, 28, 657-680. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/
Document ID: cqresrre2018080309
Document URL: http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2018080309
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 03, 2018  Loneliness and Social Isolation
Feb. 12, 2010  Sleep Deprivation
Dec. 06, 2002  Homework Debate
Aug. 04, 1995  Job Stress
Jun. 23, 1995  Repetitive Stress Injuries
Aug. 14, 1992  Work, Family and Stress
Aug. 13, 1982  Pressures on Youth
Nov. 28, 1980  Stress Management
Jul. 15, 1970  Stress In Modern Life
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Internet and Social Media
Marriage and Divorce
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Medicaid and Medicare
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