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jimmy m
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09 Sep 2020, 8:25 am

While there are many ways to define loneliness, the researchers, studying a cross-section of adults in the Netherlands, settled on this:

“loneliness occurs when there is a discrepancy in the person’s social relationships; second, it is a subjective experience and third, loneliness is a stressful and unpleasant feeling.”

It is that stress that links poor health outcomes and loneliness?

Image

While loneliness is age-related, the researchers took a lifespan perspective, trying to identify “age-normative” behavior and goals, that when not met, resulted in that lonely feeling. They made use of a national health survey administered every four years to adults living independently, age 19 to 65. With a response rate of about 25%, their sample was roughly 26,000 individuals. They were broken down into three age categories or “bins,” young adults, 19-34, early middle age 35-49, and late middle age 50-65.

The groups were evenly distributed between males and females, the majority employed, without “financial imbalances” (making ends meet), and living with two or more persons. The young were less likely to be married, the late middle age more likely to complain of health issues. Most individuals talked to their neighbors, friends, or family more than twice a month. They seem pretty “normal.”

“In each age group, more than two-thirds had a moderate or high risk of depression or an anxiety disorder.”

Overall, 44.3% experience loneliness, the percentage rising with age group. Of course, which came first, anxiety/depression or loneliness is a chicken-egg kind of problem.

* “Across all three age groups, the strongest association with loneliness was found for those who often felt excluded from society.” [Sounds like Aspies] Several factors were at play for all age groups so that while they may reflect universal criteria for psychological health, the emphasis on specific aspects varied with age.
* Educational level was a factor for young adults, no surprise here as those are the years many are pursuing educational goals. Ethnicity and friendships were also heightened factors for these adults, “emphasizing the importance of turning to friends for role socialization and leisure activities.”
* Employment status was a factor in early middle age, again one of those consistent milestones of life. Who wouldn’t be following their career goals at that age? Ethnic identity continued to play a role, although not as high as for the younger adults.
* Connection to family was important, and its importance increased with age as we moved through our child-bearing and rearing years, as we lost our parents, and as some faced divorce. As the researchers write, “individuals of those ages identify themselves through their relationships with family members.”
* Financial imbalance’s effect diminished with age. The researchers hypothesized that this reflected the lower-cost of increasingly home-based activity.
* Perceived health was a factor for those in late middle age; caregiver responsibilities seem to weigh more heavily on the young.

The study has limitations, not differentiating social from emotional loneliness, not measuring the “quality” of relationships, and as with any cross-sectional study, not demonstrating causality. But those restrictions should not prevent us from applying an admittedly broad brush. We are social creatures, and there are stages to our lives, reflecting our personal or the aggregated expectations of society. “If an individual perceives life events as non-normative for his or her age, loneliness may manifest.”

As with continue to learn to live with COVID-19, we might well apply this lens of loneliness to what we see around us. In those terms, lots of partying by the young may be reckless or endangering, but is also one of that age-group’s social drivers. Working at home may make it more difficult to climb that career ladder and may lead to psychological distress in both early and late middle age. While social distancing may, on the one hand, be easier for those older individuals with comfortable homes and surroundings, the inability to connect with family across generations may make it much harder.

The psychological stress of COVID-19 is becoming more evident with time; social creatures [extroverts] do not do well with social distancing. But how, and in whom, this social stress manifests varies, just like loneliness. That feeling of “being excluded” varies across our life span.

Source: Being Lonely: One Size Does Not Fit All


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Gentleman Argentum
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09 Sep 2020, 7:13 pm

jimmy m wrote:
While there are many ways to define loneliness, the researchers, studying a cross-section of adults in the Netherlands, settled on this:

“loneliness occurs when there is a discrepancy in the person’s social relationships; second, it is a subjective experience and third, loneliness is a stressful and unpleasant feeling.”

It is that stress that links poor health outcomes and loneliness?


OK, I am not sure why you posted that. Are you lonely?

I get lonely sometimes, but only if I dwell on being alone, if I dwell on the supposed need to have a friend or more. Examine that carefully, why is that, what is the need about? I decided not to dwell.

I was in a marriage for 20+ years and was never alone, but all I ever got was guff the whole time and arguing constantly. Now that I am alone I am tons happier.

Just accepting being alone is nice. I decided some time ago that I like myself. I also decided that other people can be annoying, or you can only take them in small doses. They have needs, preferences, opinions, criticism, moods, smells, odors, noises, and bad habits. That is what you sign up, you let someone else in.

So, being alone, far from being a stressor, is like a Christmas present, every weekend I look forward to just doing my own thing and not worrying about anyone else's needs.


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jimmy m
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09 Sep 2020, 7:54 pm

Gentleman Argentum wrote:
OK, I am not sure why you posted that. Are you lonely?


There are many people on this site that discuss how they have no friends, how they feel all alone in the world. This article looks at loneliness from a scientific research perspective. So I considered it as an appropriate discussion point.

Many people believe they are singled out and doomed to be lonely for the rest of their lives. Loneliness affects much of the population (both NTs and Aspies alike). 44.3% of the population interviewed in this study in Netherlands experience loneliness


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emotrtkey
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09 Sep 2020, 11:37 pm

I think loneliness plays a major role in autism. Reminds me of a study I read a couple years ago:

"One study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in April 2017, finds the life expectancy in the United States of those with ASD to be 36 years old."

"The suicide rate among those with ASD was 9 times higher than the general population."

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... m-disorder



Gentleman Argentum
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10 Sep 2020, 2:49 am

jimmy m wrote:
Gentleman Argentum wrote:
OK, I am not sure why you posted that. Are you lonely?


There are many people on this site that discuss how they have no friends, how they feel all alone in the world. This article looks at loneliness from a scientific research perspective. So I considered it as an appropriate discussion point.

Many people believe they are singled out and doomed to be lonely for the rest of their lives. Loneliness affects much of the population (both NTs and Aspies alike). 44.3% of the population interviewed in this study in Netherlands experience loneliness


I get that. I have no friends and feel all alone in the world. Is it a big deal? My take is, it is still possible to be happy. For instance, I adopted cats and stay on good terms with people out at work. Work-friends can be almost like real friends, that helps. Pretend-friends, you can even believe once in a while. Cats are good company all around. They don't ask for much either other than food, drink. I think cats, dogs are aspies too.

Over and over again on these forums, I caution, be careful what you wish for. Let's say you get rid of loneliness, you find someone. Whee! :heart: Success! That comes with pitfalls too. That someone can be an abuser / user and might wind up draining your bank account. :skull: Worth it? I don't think so. Or maybe you're young and have no money anyway, so they give lie about you or... isn't that where people get creative? They will come up with some torment I hadn't considered before.

How would an Aspy go about finding someone that is not a parasite? He is ill-equipped to determine, and lacks the armamentarium to defend against or even detect bad behavior. With such a broken vessel, to propose going out and making friends is to propose getting abused, used and done over again.


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jimmy m
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10 Sep 2020, 11:18 am

emotrtkey wrote:
I think loneliness plays a major role in autism. Reminds me of a study I read a couple years ago:

"One study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in April 2017, finds the life expectancy in the United States of those with ASD to be 36 years old."

"The suicide rate among those with ASD was 9 times higher than the general population."

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... m-disorder


Many Aspies feel like they have been left out of life. They may have had a few friends when they were little but those friendships disintegrated as they got older and now they are alone and lonely. They miss having friends. According to the article "44.3% experience loneliness". So in the U.S. there are around 143 million people who experience loneliness. Many of these people are waiting for someone to knock on their door and introduce themselves and become their friend. But that is not happening. They are waiting for the other guy/gal to make the first move.

But flip this around. If you are lonely, there are millions of people who might want you for a friend. All you have to do is step out of your bubble and introduce yourself. Some will reject you (around 50 percent) but many of the others will let you in and invite you in for coffee. You don't need to have anything in common with a friend because that is part of friendship. It is joining together with someone and exploring the world together.

When I was a teenager, I had a passion for collecting old books. I use to love visiting an old book store in my city and browsing the racks for hours. I had one friend. He had no interest in old books but I dragged him along and we spent a day there. He had an introduction into one of my passions. On the other hand, he was interested in yoga and dragged me to visit a friend who was REALLY into yoga. I learned many interesting things, contortionist moves, really strange versions of yoga. So being friends means joining with someone to explore the universe together.


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Arronax
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11 Sep 2020, 4:07 pm

I am technically lonely. I mean I have like 2 friends that I see maybe twice every year. But I don't feel lonely. But I still want to be social. For two reasons: It helps you to move up in your career ladder, and it helps you to get laid. Because women don't want to have sex with weirdos who can't communicate. It's also the only reason I want to move up the career ladder because generally it helps to attract women if you earn a lot of money and have a higher status.
I think I'm exceptional in that sense in the aspie community. I'm pretty sure I have less friends/social contacts than the average aspie, despite not being even that "high" on the autistic spectrum. So I probably have some anti-social tendencies in my character. Not sure if it's from birth or conditioned through experience.



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19 Oct 2020, 6:27 am

Arronax wrote:
I am technically lonely. I mean I have like 2 friends that I see maybe twice every year. But I don't feel lonely. But I still want to be social. For two reasons: It helps you to move up in your career ladder, and it helps you to get laid. Because women don't want to have sex with weirdos who can't communicate. It's also the only reason I want to move up the career ladder because generally it helps to attract women if you earn a lot of money and have a higher status.
I think I'm exceptional in that sense in the aspie community. I'm pretty sure I have less friends/social contacts than the average aspie, despite not being even that "high" on the autistic spectrum. So I probably have some anti-social tendencies in my character. Not sure if it's from birth or conditioned through experience.


Wow man, you are keeping it real!

Are you saying that women are mainly interested in men due to $?
Also that men are mainly interested in money to improve sex life?

I just don't know whether that is true or not.

Try this experiment: post a profile on two online matchmakers, exactly the same, with one difference. One says: "I drive an old car and don't travel," and the other says, "I drive a Porsche and travel to Europe every summer."


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