More than 11% of Americans Report Feeling Extreme Loneliness Heading into the Winter Holidays According to Survey

NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the pandemic continues to change how Americans live daily life, the holidays are proving to be no different. Almost 1 in 4 Americans won't see family or friends for any of the upcoming holidays, which could help explain why more than 1 in 10 are experiencing severe loneliness.

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We surveyed more than 2,000 people about their loneliness to gauge what effects the resurgent coronavirus pandemic and the upcoming holiday season will have on people's mental health. 

Key findings:

  • Nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) won't see family and friends for either of the upcoming holidays. That number jumps to 35% for baby boomers and 31% for members of the silent generation. 
  • More than 1 in 10 (11%) consumers report feeling "extremely lonely" heading into the winter holidays. Interestingly, younger Americans are more likely to report feeling extreme loneliness than older generations. 
  • 24% of Americans are "very worried" about their family and friends feeling lonely during the holidays this year. Another 46% are somewhat concerned. 
  • Some consumers' holiday loneliness may be related to the season: 13% said they have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. Another 29% haven't been diagnosed but experience those symptoms. 
  • To manage stress and loneliness, many consumers are practicing forms of self-care, including watching TV or movies (60%), exercise (40%) and reading (39%), but only 7% said they're talking to a therapist or counselor. Additionally, 19% of those age 75 and older said they don't do anything to manage stress/loneliness.
  • Of those who reported they won't see loved ones for at least one of the upcoming holidays, the majority (49%) said they made the decision themselves to minimize coronavirus risk. On the other hand, 14% said the loved one made the decision due to the pandemic. 
  • For those who feel lonely, their reasons include: isolation due to the pandemic (51%), always feel lonely during this time of the year (28%), loss of a loved one (25%), the weather (24%), the election (21%), disagreements with family members (21%) and job loss (21%).

View full report: Loneliness, Coronavirus, and the Holidays 

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