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People of All Generation Can Feel Lonely for Different Reasons: Research

People of different generations and age groups are equally lonely

People of different generations are equally lonely, but for different reasons. Pixabay

People of different generations are equally lonely, but for different reasons, say health and lifestyle researchers, adding that living alone increases the risk of loneliness in older age whereas in midlife feeling isolated is more linked to personality traits.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, found emotionally-resilient people — those more able to adapt in stressful situations — are less at risk of loneliness at any age, and outgoing middle-aged people are less likely to feel lonely.

“The use of machine learning in this study allows us to identify and replicate differences in what risk factors are linked to loneliness in middle and older age people,” said study researcher Drew Altschul from University of Edinburgh in the UK.

“Loneliness is a growing public health issue, identifying the things that precede loneliness is difficult, however, contemporary machine learning algorithms are positioned to help identify these predictors,” Altschul added.

For the findings, the research team examined data from more than 4,000 people older than 45 for loneliness, personality traits, and living circumstances. According to the researchers, people were asked to rate how lonely they felt. Their personality traits were also tested using a framework called the Five-Factor Model.

Emotionally-resilient people are unlikely to feel lonely in their lifetime. Pixabay

The research team used machine learning — which uses data to make predictions — to examine the data for relationships between personality traits such as emotional stability, and social variables such as living alone, as causes for loneliness. Results were compared between people in midlife — from 45 to 69 years old — and those in their 70s.

A major strength of the study is that two separate samples represented each age group, and the same effects were found across samples in each age group, the researchers said. The researchers found similar levels of loneliness in both groups.

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According to the study, on average, people with a strong capacity to maintain emotional balance under stressful circumstances were 60 per cent less likely to be lonely, regardless of their age.

Middle-aged people who were more extroverted were, on average, 55 per cent less likely to be lonely. Social isolation was not significantly associated with loneliness in the 45 to 69 age group. The study found that people over 70 who lived alone were more than four times more likely to feel lonely than those who did not live alone. (IANS)

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Can Obligation Affect Relationship During Social Distancing? Find it Out Here

Obligation can hamper relationships during social distancing, says a recent research

Obligation is sometimes the "glue that holds relationships together," but it often carries negative connotations. Pixabay

Does a sense of obligation — from checking on parents to running an errand for an elderly neighbour – benefit or harm a relationship especially at a time where social distancing is in place and people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual?

According to researchers from Michigan State University, obligation is sometimes the “glue that holds relationships together,” but it often carries negative connotations.”We were looking to find whether obligation is all good or all bad,” said William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at MSU and co-author of the study.

“We found that people were responding to types of obligations in different ways. People distinguished between requests that were massive obligations and requests that were simple. There’s this point that obligation crosses over and starts to be harmful for relationships,” Chopik mentioned.

A sense of obligation — from checking on parents to running an errand for an elderly neighbour – benefit or harm a relationship especially at a time where social distancing is in place. Pixabay

The findings suggest that there’s a distinct point at which obligation pushes individuals to the brink of feeling burdened, which can start to harm their relationships. “We found that some obligations were linked with greater depressive symptoms and slower increases in support from friends over time,: said Jeewon Oh, MSU doctoral student and co-author of the study.

However, other obligations were linked with both greater support and less strain from family and friends initially. “While engaging in substantive obligation can benefit others and make someone feel helpful, it is still costly to a person’s time, energy and money,” the authors noted. Until now, similar research showed inconsistencies in how obligation impacts relationships.

This ranges from light obligation, like keeping in touch with a friend, to substantive obligation, like lending that friend a considerable amount of money. “In a way, major obligations violate the norms of friendships,” Chopik said. “Interestingly, you don’t see that violation as much in relationships with parents or spouses”. Friendships are viewed as low-investment, fun relationships that make people feel good.

If someone doesn’t have a great relationship with a parent or partner, a quick phone call to check in isn’t enjoyable, it’s an encumbrance. Pixabay

“Our longest lasting friendships continue because we enjoy them. But if obligations pile up, it might compromise how close we feel to our friends,” Chopik noted in a paper appeared in International Journal of Behavioral Development. Because friendships are a relationship of choice, people can distance themselves from friends more easily than other types of relationships when faced with burdensome obligations.

Additionally, substantive obligations may create strain in a friendship as we try to encourage our friends to do the same even when they might not be able to do so, Oh said. “Although we may feel good when we do things for our friends, and our friends are grateful to us, we may start to feel like we are investing too much in that relationship,” Oh added.

Also Read- Parental Diet Crucial for Health of Offspring: Study

Still, some types of relationships can make even minor obligations seem daunting. If someone doesn’t have a great relationship with a parent, a quick phone call to check in isn’t enjoyable, it’s an encumbrance. “Even for things we would expect family members to do, some in the study did them begrudgingly,” Chopik said. (IANS)