Study suggests young adults nearly twice as likely to be affected by loneliness

Young adults are more likely to feel lonely than their elders, a new study suggests.

There are 31% of 18 to 24-year-olds who say they are lonely often or all the time – while 17% of the general public said the same, according to a YouGov survey of 2,149 UK adults.

Making friends was difficult to some extent for 46% of the 18-34 year olds, compared to 38% of the general population, while 28% over people aged over 55 years old found this was difficult.

This could be linked to the “new challenges” which the youngsters may face for the first time such as moving away from home or starting new jobs, according to the research team.

They also found that 24% of Britons aged from 18 to 24 said they often suffered from loneliness, and 7% said they are lonely all of the time.

Among over 55 year-olds, there were 2% who said they felt lonely all the time, while 7% described themselves as being often feeling lonely.

When asked why they found it hard to make new friends, 80% of those aged from 18 to 24 said shyness is a major factor, compared to 43% of adults over the age of 55.

Some 32% of young adults also think that not having the type of hobbies or interests which help forge new friendships is an issue, as well as a lack of nearby people they would wish to be friends with.

This compared with 18% of the over 55 year-olds who thought their choice of hobbies was an issue and 25% who did not have people nearby they wanted to be friends with.

YouGov research manager Connor Ibbetson said: “While there has understandably been much focus on the mental well-being of elderly people, new YouGov research shows that young people are also subject to feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

“YouGov’s new survey shows that almost a third of 18-24 year olds feel lonely often, or all time, and this is actually three times higher than people aged over 55.

“Almost half of 18-34 year olds also say they find it difficult to make new friends and this may be because at this time in their lives they face new challenges such as moving away from home for the first time, or starting new jobs or university.”

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