Social Isolation & Loneliness: What’s the Difference?
- Social Isolation: The objective experience of having few or infrequent social connections.
- Loneliness: The subjective and distressing feeling of being alone or isolated, often defined as the difference between actual and desired level of social connection.
- Social Connection: The ways that people can be physically, emotionally, and culturally connected to others.
Loneliness and social isolation have serious physical and mental health implications in older adults and people with disabilities.
In older adults:
A study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine showed:
In people with disabilities:
A Michigan University health policy brief developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research showed:
This self-evaluation tool from AARP’s Connect2Affect can help people identify their level of connection.