Those who are lonely may be more susceptible to early death than those with satisfactory human connections, according to research conducted at the University of Chicago. The report, titled Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connections, found that those who report feelings of consistent loneliness are 14 percent more likely to die prematurely.
“Loneliness is a risk factor for early death beyond what can be explained by poor health behaviors,” said psychologist John Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. “Feeling lonely isn’t only unhappy; it’s unsafe.”
Cacioppo surveyed data on 2,000 subjects over the age of 50, finding that death by loneliness was two times more deadly than death by obesity.
“We find people who continue to interact with co-workers after retirement and have friends close by are less lonely. Take time to enjoy yourself and share good times with family and friends. Non-lonely people enjoy themselves with other people,” Cacioppo said.
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