A gap between a person's desire for social relationships and his/her actual social ties. Loneliness, which is a person's perceived social situation, is distinguished from social isolation, which refers to the objective number of social connections the individual has. A feeling of loneliness usually motivates to action (or prevents action), similar to the manner in which hunger and thirst are an internal clue that triggers action aimed at preventing harm to oneself – in this case, avoiding social interactions.
Impeding factor

Relation to social mobility

Loneliness can lead to emotional issues such as depression and anxiety, which in turn lead to negative occupational and health outcomes. Furthermore, loneliness might lead to behaviors of avoidance and impair social skills, managerial skills, and long-term planning abilities. In the analysis of CBS data, loneliness was found to be a variable that distinguishes among different groups in many populations – even among individuals for whom other conditions for success exist. Longitudinal studies demonstrate that depression and anxiety among young people (18) reduce their chances of finding work, and increase the risk of mental health problems and dangerous health behavior.


Masi, C. M., Chen, H. Y., Hawkley, L. C., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2011). A meta-analysis of interventions to reduce loneliness. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 15(3), 219-266. Cacioppo, S., Grippo, A. J., London, S., Goossens, L., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2015). Loneliness: Clinical import and interventions. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 238-249. Cacioppo, J. T., Hughes, M. E., Waite, L. J., Hawkley, L. C., & Thisted, R. A. (2006). Loneliness as a specific risk factor for depressive symptoms: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Psychology and aging, 21(1), 140. Victor, C. R., & Yang, K. (2012). The prevalence of loneliness among adults: a case study of the United Kingdom. The Journal of psychology, 146(1-2), 85-104. Seepersad, S. S. (2005). Understanding and helping the lonely: an evaluation of the LUV Program (pp. 4002-4002). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Matthews, T., Danese, A., Caspi, A., Fisher, H. L., Goldman-Mellor, S., Kepa, A., ... & Arseneault, L. (2019). Lonely young adults in modern Britain: findings from an epidemiological cohort study. Psychological medicine, 49(2), 268-277.

Desirable achievements

Ages 18-25

Key population

  • All groups of society
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