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Loneliness and Depression Did Not Increase During Coronavirus Pandemic, US Survey

The coronavirus pandemic started earlier this year and locked people up inside their homes. The health experts advised the people to stay at home to prevent coronavirus infection. At the time, no social gatherings were allowed and people self-isolated themselves in their homes. Overall, experts are warning about the possibility of loneliness in coronavirus and stress-related disorders to rise.

Social distancing was an important measure to prevent the spread of the virus. But it was also evident that this will cause even more loneliness among the US population. The major portion of the American population already suffers from loneliness. Hence, these rules were only going to increase suffering.

Julianne Holt-Lunstad is a neuroscientist and she is also a social psychologist at Brigham Young University. She said that such conditions usually increase the feeling of being alone among people. But the latest studies show that loneliness in coronavirus is not the aftermath of the pandemic until now.

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Angelina Sutin is an associate professor of behavioral sciences at the Florida State University College of Medicine. She did a survey with her colleague researchers in the US. The survey included 1,500 US citizens aged from 18 to 98. The researchers connected with these people thrice from January to April. The survey was to check the loneliness of people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, American Psychologist.

Sutin said that they expected the loneliness to increase during that time. People were not allowed to go out and hand out with their friends and family. This makes a difficult situation for many people. The results of the survey showed no significant difference in loneliness before and during the lockdown.

The participants gave different responses to the survey. Some said that they just started feeling lonely while others said that their loneliness decreased with time. The researchers made some conclusions from the data in this survey. The findings show that the people of older age group tend to feel less lonely. However, people from age 18 to 64 tend to be lonelier than the older age group.

The first survey shows the loneliness in coronavirus was 16% in the age group 65 and above. In the second survey, it increased to 21% but dropped again to 18% in the last survey. Meanwhile, Holt-Lunstad said that this is not surprising that the rate of loneliness stayed low.

The coronavirus pandemic shut down all the businesses and confined people to their homes. During that time, people relied mostly on their neighbors. Hence, they had an opportunity to interact with each other in a community. Although people maintained some social distance, they still looked out for those in need. This created a positive environment during a pandemic and helped those with loneliness.

The loneliness in coronavirus remained stable during a pandemic but the Americans go through depression at an alarming rate. The experts say that many young people and teenagers usually go through some level of depression due to the use of social media. Everybody has a concern that they are missing out on something. However, during the pandemic, everyone was at home so the depression did not increase at that time.

Bisma Nasar

I am a freelance writer and my field of expertise is Microbiology and Genetics. I also write about advancements in medicine and general health.

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