According to research by the University of York, ‘Loneliness is a subjective feeling associated with someone’s perception that their relationships with others are deficient’ whereas, ‘social isolation is a more objective measure of the absence of relationships, ties or contact with others’. In sum the latter can be a choice.
Ben Lazare Mijuskovic writes in Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature (2012) ‘man has always and everywhere suffered from feelings of acute loneliness’, however, it is important to recognise that loneliness means different things to different people. It is equally important to be cognizant of that fact that some people will feel lonely spending just a day alone, whilst others can go months with minimal social contact or communication and not experience any negative emotions. ‘Some may be socially isolated but content with minimal social contact or actually prefer to be alone’ writes Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead author of a 2015 report on loneliness in Perspectives on Psychological Science. ‘Others may have frequent social contact but still feel lonely.’ As the Age UK Loneliness and Isolation Evidence review also points out it is ‘possible to be isolated and not lonely, and to be lonely without being isolated’.
This is the topic of research conducted by Kiren Zubairi, and led to the hosting of a conference on Loneliness and Social isolation hosted by the Kincardine And Mearns Welfare and Wellbeing network.
We were fortunate to have Kiren Zubairi author of the Zubairi Report on Loneliness and Social Isolation coming along to share her finding from the report. This qualitative study investigates the loneliness and social isolation experienced by under-represented demographics in Scotland, who often face multiple triggers including socio-economic disadvantage, poor access to transport and a lack of places and spaces that encourage connectedness and foster belonging.
Over the next few weeks this blog will aim to look at this topic; what are the causes, what are the effects of this, what can we do to address this issue, and what’s happening both locally and more widely to address this ever increasing issue.
Pop back next week to find out more!