[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 8-Mar-2006
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Contact: Annette Whibley
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

One in three adults are lonely, especially people in their forties

More than a third of adults are lonely, with people in their forties suffering the highest levels, according to a study published in the latest Journal of Clinical Nursing.

People with strong religious beliefs were less likely to be lonely and people who were unemployed reported higher levels of loneliness than people who were retired.

The study, by a team of UK and Australian researchers, showed that 35 per cent of the 1,289 people who took part in 30-minute telephone interviews in Central Queensland were lonely.

"Understanding what makes people lonely is very important as loneliness can increase the risk of health conditions, such as heart disease and depression, and other problems such as domestic violence" says Professor William Lauder from the University of Dundee, Scotland, who spent two years working in Australia.

"One of the most interesting findings of this study is that it challenges the belief that retirement is linked to diminished social contacts and that people get lonelier as they get older."

Key findings from the research, co-authored by Professor Kerry Mummery from Central Queensland University and nursing lecturer Siobhan Sharkey from the University of Stirling in Scotland, include:

"Tackling loneliness is very important as it is a very common and potentially health-threatening phenomenon" adds Professor Lauder. "Previous research has indicated that health wise it carries a similar level of risk to obesity.

"We hope that this study will provide health professionals and others with further insight into the causes of loneliness and support efforts to reduce health issues caused by the problem."


For further information and a copy of the full paper contact
Annette Whibley, Wizard Communications

To interview Professor Lauder please contact
Roddy Isles, University of Dundee
+44 (0) 1382 384910 r.isles@dundee.ac.uk

Notes to editors

  • Social capital, age and religiosity in people who are lonely. William Lauder, University of Dundee, UK; Kerry Mummery, Central Queensland University, Australia; Siobhan Sharkey, University of Stirling, UK. Journal of Clinical Nursing. Volume 15. Pages 334-340.

  • Founded in 1992, Journal of Clinical Nursing is a highly regarded peer reviewed Journal that has a truly international readership. The Journal embraces experienced clinical nurses, student nurses and health professionals, who support, inform and investigate nursing practice. It enlightens, educates, explores, debates and challenges the foundations of clinical health care knowledge and practice worldwide. Edited by Professor Roger Watson, it is published 10 times a year by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, part of the international Blackwell Publishing group. www.blackwellpublishing.com/jcn

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