Pandemic loneliness has benefited many: Study | Health
New research has found that time spent alone during the pandemic has positive effects on well-being at all ages.
The results of the study were published in the journal “Frontiers in Psychology”.
The study of more than 2,000 adolescents and adults found that most people benefited from loneliness during the early days of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
All age groups have felt both positive and negative effects of loneliness. However, researchers found that descriptions of loneliness included more positive effects than negative ones. On average, well-being scores when participants were alone were 5 out of 7 for all ages, including adolescents aged 13 to 16.
READ ALSO: Research Suggests Mental Health Distress Continued to Increase During Pandemic
Some study participants spoke of a deterioration in their mood or well-being, but most described their experiences of loneliness in terms of feeling, competence, and self-reliance. 43 percent of all respondents mentioned that loneliness involved activities and skill experiences – time spent learning skills and activities, and this was consistent across all ages. Meanwhile, autonomy – self-connection and self-confidence – was a major characteristic especially for adults, who mentioned it twice as often as adolescent participants.
Adults of working age recorded the most negative experiences with more participants reporting disturbed well-being (35.6 percent vs. 29.4 percent among adolescents and 23.7 percent among older adults) and negative mood (44 percent versus 27.8 percent among adolescents and 24.5 percent among the elderly).
Experiences of alienation, or the cost of not interacting with friends, were twice as common among teens (about one in seven, or 14.8 percent) than among adults (7 percent), adults older people mentioning them least often (2.3 percent). hundred).
Dr Netta Weinstein, associate professor of psychology at the University of Reading and lead author of the article, said: “Our article shows that aspects of loneliness, a positive way of describing loneliness, are recognized by all. ages as beneficial to our well-being. being.”
“The conventional wisdom is that teens, on the whole, have found the pandemic to be a negative experience, but we see in our study how the components of loneliness can be positive. During these first months of the pandemic here in the UK we see that working adults were actually the most likely to mention aspects of deteriorating well-being and mood, but even these are not mentioned as often as more positive experiences of loneliness, ”explained Dr. Weinstein.
“We conducted the research in the summer of 2020, which coincided with the end of the first national lockdown in the UK. We know that many people have returned to their hobbies and interests or are enjoying more and more nature on walks and bike rides during this time, and those elements of what we describe as ‘self-determined motivation’, where we choose to spend time alone for ourselves, are apparently an essential aspect of well- be positive, ”added Dr. Weinstein.
“Seeing working-age adults experience disturbed well-being and negative moods may in fact be linked to the pandemic reducing our ability to find peaceful solitude. As we all adjust to a ‘new normal’, many working adults have found that the usual times of being alone, whether on their commute to work or during a break at work, have been disrupted. Even for the most ardent extroverts, these little windows of peace show the important role time alone for our mental health, ”continued Dr Weinstein.
“It also suggests that certain experiences of loneliness are learned or valued more and more with age, which has the effect of reducing the impact of the negative elements of loneliness and generally improving well-being. , this suggests that occasional deductions about loneliness based on age and stage miss the reality of our nuanced lived experiences, ”explained Dr. Weinstein.
The results come from a series of in-depth interviews in which participants from the UK answered open-ended questions about their experiences of loneliness.
The team of researchers coded the responses to find shared experiences and measured quantitative data on two aspects of well-being associated with loneliness, self-determined motivation (choosing to spend time alone) and peaceful mood.
Follow more stories on Facebook & Twitter