The Ramifications of Loneliness: A Commentary

Ami Rokach*

Published: 08 September, 2023 | Volume 7 - Issue 1 | Pages: 018-020

Loneliness was a major concern of people during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Now, that the pandemic is mainly gone, it is still a global issue. This commentary reviews the impact on that loneliness has on our cognitive, behavioral and affective functioning. These effects are described, along with the stigma that often accompanies loneliness and which makes it hard for people to acknowledge and admit that they are lonely, and seek help from healthcare professionals. This commentary, aside from describing the various negative implications of loneliness, highlights the need for society to address the issue. While it cannot be eliminated, the population can be taught how to recognize it, and how to offer assistance to those who struggle with it.

Read Full Article HTML DOI: 10.29328/journal.ida.1001038 Cite this Article Read Full Article PDF


Loneliness; Alienation; Isolation; Consequences of loneliness


  1. Ornish D. Love and Survival: The scientific basis for the healing power of intimacy. NY: HarperCollins. 1998.
  2. Danneel S, Maes M, Vanhalst J, Bijttebier P, Goossens L. Developmental Change in Loneliness and Attitudes Toward Aloneness in Adolescence. J Youth Adolesc. 2018 Jan;47(1):148-161. doi: 10.1007/s10964-017-0685-5. Epub 2017 May 4. PMID: 28474134.
  3. Rokach A. Loneliness, alienation, solitude and our lives. In A. Sha’ked & A. Rokach (Eds.), Addressing loneliness: Coping, prevention and clinical interventions. NY: Routledge. 2015; 3-19.
  4. McPherson M, Brashears ME, Smith-Lovin L. Social isolation in america: Changes in core discussion networks over two decades. American Sociological Review. 2006; 71(3):353-375. doi:10.1177/000312240607100301
  5. Friedman RL. Widening the therapeutic lens: Sense of belonging as an integral dimension of the human experience (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from PsychINFO. (Order No. AAI3268822). 2007.
  6. Cacioppo JT, Cacioppo S, Capitanio JP, Cole SW. The neuroendocrinology of social isolation. Annu Rev Psychol. 2015 Jan 3;66:733-67. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-010814-015240. Epub 2014 Aug 22. PMID: 25148851; PMCID: PMC5130104.
  7. McWhirter BT, Besett-Alesch T, Horibata J, Gat I. Loneliness in high risk adolescents: The role of coping, self-esteem, and empathy. Journal of Youth Studies. 2002; 5(1):69-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13676260120111779
  8. Rokach A. The psychological journey to and from loneliness: Development, causes, and effects of social and emotional isolation. 2019.
  9. Cacioppo JT, Hawkley LC, Thisted RA. Perceived social isolation makes me sad: 5-year cross-lagged analyses of loneliness and depressive symptomatology in the Chicago Health, Aging, and Social Relations Study. Psychol Aging. 2010 Jun;25(2):453-63. doi: 10.1037/a0017216. PMID: 20545429; PMCID: PMC2922929.
  10. Ben-Zur H. Loneliness, optimism, and well-being among married, divorced, and widowed individuals. J Psychol. 2012 Jan-Apr;146(1-2):23-36. doi: 10.1080/00223980.2010.548414. PMID: 22303610.
  11. Luo Y, Hawkley LC, Waite LJ, Cacioppo JT. Loneliness, health, and mortality in old age: a national longitudinal study. Soc Sci Med. 2012 Mar;74(6):907-14. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.11.028. Epub 2012 Jan 25. PMID: 22326307; PMCID: PMC3303190.
  12. Cole SW, Hawkley LC, Arevalo JM, Cacioppo JT. Transcript origin analysis identifies antigen-presenting cells as primary targets of socially regulated gene expression in leukocytes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 15;108(7):3080-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1014218108. Epub 2011 Feb 7. PMID: 21300872; PMCID: PMC3041107.
  13. Dixon D, Cruess S, Kilbourn K, Klimas N, Fletcher MA, Ironson G, Baum A, Schneiderman N, Antoni MH. Social Support Mediates Loneliness and Human Herpesvirus Type 6 (HHV-6) Antibody Titers. J Appl Soc Psychol. 2006 Jul 31;31(6):1111-1132. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb02665.x. PMID: 20407593; PMCID: PMC2855978.
  14. Heinrich LM, Gullone E. The clinical significance of loneliness: a literature review. Clin Psychol Rev. 2006 Oct;26(6):695-718. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2006.04.002. Epub 2006 Jun 19. PMID: 16952717.
  15. Paloutzian RF, Ellison CW. Loneliness, spiritual well-being, and the quality of life. In L. A. Peplau & D. Perlman (Eds.), Loneliness: Current theory, research, and therapy. NY: Wiley. 1982; 224-237.
  16. Rokach A. []. Emotions and their influence on our personal, interpersonal and social experiences. UK: Rouledge. 2017.
  17. Rubenstein CM, Shaver P. The experience of loneliness. In L.A. Peplau & D. Perlman (Eds.), Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research and therapy. NY: Wiley. 1982; 206-223.
  18. Hojat M. Comparison of transitory and chronic loners on selected personality variables. Br J Psychol. 1983 May;74(Pt 2):199-202. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1983.tb01855.x. PMID: 6883012.
  19. Mellor D, Stokes M, Firth L, Hayashi Y, Cummins R. Need for belonging, relationship satisfaction, loneliness, and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences. 2008; 45(3):213-218. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.03.020
  20. Johnson HD, LaVoie JC, Spenceri MC, Mahoney-Wernli MA. Peer conflict avoidance: associations with loneliness, social anxiety, and social avoidance. Psychol Rep. 2001 Feb;88(1):227-35. doi: 10.2466/pr0.2001.88.1.227. PMID: 11293033.
  21. Rokach A, Sha’ked A. Together and lonely: Loneliness in intimate relationships — causes and coping. NY: Nova Science Publishers. 2013.
  22. Schermer JA, Martin RA, Vernon PA, Martin NG, Conde CL, Statham D, Lynskey MT. Lonely people tend to make fun of themselves: A behavior genetic analysis of humor styles and loneliness. Personality and Individual Differences. 2017; 117: 71-73. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2017.05.042
  23. Solano CH. Loneliness and perceptions of control: General traits versus specific attributions. Journal of Social Behavior & Personality. 1987; 2(2):201-214.
  24. Rook KS, Charles ST. Close social ties and health in later life: Strengths and vulnerabilities. Am Psychol. 2017 Sep;72(6):567-577. doi: 10.1037/amp0000104. PMID: 28880103; PMCID: PMC5599123.
  25. Cacioppo JT, Ernst JM, Burleson MH, McClintock MK, Malarkey WB, Hawkley LC, Kowalewski RB, Paulsen A, Hobson JA, Hugdahl K, Spiegel D, Berntson GG. Lonely traits and concomitant physiological processes: the MacArthur social neuroscience studies. Int J Psychophysiol. 2000 Mar;35(2-3):143-54. doi: 10.1016/s0167-8760(99)00049-5. PMID: 10677643.
  26. Jackson T, Soderlind A, Weiss KE. Personality traits and quality of relationships as predictors of future loneliness among american college students. Social Behavior and Personality. 2000; 28(5):463-470. doi:10.2224/sbp.2000.28.5.463
  27. Inderbitzen-Pisaruk H, Clark ML, Solano CH. Correlates of loneliness in midadolescence. J Youth Adolesc. 1992 Apr;21(2):151-67. doi: 10.1007/BF01537334. PMID: 24263792.
  28. Bell RA, Daly JA. Some communicative correlates of loneliness. Communication Monographs. 1985; 52:218-235.
  29. Sippola LK, Bukowski WM. Self, other, and loneliness from a developmental perspective. In K. J. Rotenberg, & S. Hymel (Eds.), Loneliness in childhood and adolescence (pp. 280−295). Cambridge, England. 1999.
  30. Petersen J, Thielke S, Austin D, Kaye J. Phone behaviour and its relationship to loneliness in older adults. Aging Ment Health. 2016 Oct;20(10):1084-91. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2015.1060947. Epub 2015 Jul 2. PMID: 26133745; PMCID: PMC4698244.
  31. Clark DM, Loxton NJ, Tobin SJ. Multiple mediators of reward and punishment sensitivity on loneliness. Personality and Individual Differences. 2015; 72:101-106. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.08.016
  32. Pappano L. The connection gap: Why Americans feel so alone. New Brunswick, NJ. 2001.
  33. Stivers R. Shades of loneliness: Pathologies of a technological society. NY: Rowman & Littlefield. 2004.
  34. Perlman D, Joshi P. The revelation of loneliness. Journal of Social Behavior & Personality. 1987; 2(2):63-76.
  35. Rokach A. Loneliness in jail: Coping strategies. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 1997; 41(3):260-271.
  36. Rokach A. The experience of loneliness: A tri-level model. The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied. 1988; 122(6):531-544. doi:10.1080/00223980.1988.9915528
  37. Schultz S. Bittersweet: Surviving and growing from loneliness. NY: T. Crowell. 1976.
  38. Lasgaard M, Friis K, Shevlin M. "Where are all the lonely people?" A population-based study of high-risk groups across the life span. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2016 Oct;51(10):1373-1384. doi: 10.1007/s00127-016-1279-3. Epub 2016 Aug 29. PMID: 27571769.

Similar Articles

Recently Viewed

Read More

Most Viewed

Read More

Help ?