Out of the 20,000 adults surveyed, 47 percent of respondents said that they "sometimes or always" feel "alone", or "left out". 40% said they "lack companionship", their "relationships aren't meaningful", and they feel "isolated by others". To collect this information, Cigna employed the UCLA Loneliness Scale - one of today's most effective tools for measuring loneliness. The average score was 44, suggesting that loneliness is reaching "epidemic levels" in the US, according to a release accompanying the report.
18 percent say they rarely or never feel close to people, and the same portion of Hartford residents say they rarely or never feel like there are people who really understand them.
Potthoff added, "For those young people I normally encourage them, any small step you can take - maybe it feels too hard to invite someone or make a concrete plan, but instead go to a place where you'll interact with a lot of people".
The overall national loneliness score was alarmingly high at 44 on a 20-to-80 scale, but the prevalence of social isolation among those ages 18 to 22 raises even more concern.
Along with research firm Ipsos, Cigna surveyed 20,000 U.S. adults aged 18 or older to assess the state of loneliness.
Cigna insists the results show a need for more integrative mental and physical healthcare. The average loneliness score for someone alone is 43.5, and with others in the household, it only rises to about 46.4. Our growing "Generation Z", those now 18-22 years old, are the loneliest by far.
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'We're seeing a lack of human connection, which ultimately leads to a lack of vitality - or a disconnect between mind and body, ' said David M. Cordani, president and chief executive officer of Cigna.
Doctors say loneliness can happen when you spend more time on the phone and less time having face to face interaction.
"When a person has a chronic illness or is in poor health, it can limit their ability to get out and interact with others", Nemecek says.
Cigna reports that some feelings loneliness can be remedied with a balance between healthy habits and socialization.
Getting more sleep and more physical activity can help, as well as talking about it.
Dr. Cheryl Bemel is a psychologist with Health Partners.
It's for this reason that we regularly examine the physical, mental and social needs of our people and the communities they live in.