Loneliness Can Begin in Childhood — and Last a Lifetime

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

Loneliness that begins during childhood could have a lasting impact for the rest of a person’s life, a new study warns.

Researchers in Austria found that the odds of being lonely at the age of 50 or older were 1.24 times higher for people who rarely or never had comfortable friends in childhood.

Life circumstances when youngsters are growing up – including having fewer friends and siblings, low-quality relationships with parents, bad health, and growing up in a poorer household – are a link to a higher rate of loneliness later in life, according to the findings.

The research team found that while poor health is the main factor connecting to loneliness in older age, explaining 43.3 percent of the variance in loneliness, social support in older age also accounts for 27 percent of the variance. Personality traits account for 10.4 percent and life circumstances during childhood account for 7.5 percent.

Study authors note that the odds of loneliness at age 50 were 1.34 times higher among those who had a fair or poor relationship with their mother as a child in comparison to those with an excellent maternal relationship. Loneliness was 1.21 times higher when someone grew up in a low-income household.

The findings, published in the journal PLOS One, confirm the importance of social networks and support in older age, as well as the role of personality traits, and childhood circumstances.

Source: StudyFinds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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