Journal article Open Access
Loneliness and social isolation are hitting the headlines almost every day, and the problem is not confined to the older generation. With more than 9 million people in the UK reporting that they are always or often lonely (Co-operatives UK & British Red Cross, 2016) finding solutions to tackle the loneliness crisis is not just timely, it is now becoming urgent. Previous research (Holt-Lundstad 2010; 2015) has shown that social isolation has detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system and on mortality which are equivalent to the effects of smoking 15 cigarettes per day. This meta-analysis looked at the effects of weak social connections – such as knowing the names of your neighbours – rather than the effects of close relationships.