Loneliness in the United States: a Sociological Approach


December 2023

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Loneliness in American society has received much attention in recent years from researchers and public health officials. Loneliness is defined as a form of perceived detachment from others which causes emotional distress, while social isolation is an objective measure of the degree of social contact an individual has. Loneliness and the related concept of social isolation are linked to various detrimental health outcomes, with some researchers viewing them as a threat to public health akin to smoking or obesity. This paper aims to examine the current landscape of loneliness within the United States, reviewing how it manifests within the various diverse groups which make up American society, and how the recent COVID-19 pandemic has affected social connectedness. Research within the field of sociology is discussed to illustrate the value of applying a sociological approach to loneliness and social isolation, both in understanding the origins of these social ills and in devising solutions aimed at reducing loneliness and social isolation within American society.



Social isolation, Loneliness