[Page 1985]Loneliness is a prevalent and common phenomenon. Recent estimates suggest that up to 32% of adults experience loneliness and up to 7% of them report experiencing intense loneliness. Loneliness is understood to be the result of feeling that one is alone, uncared for, unimportant to others, unloved, and disconnected. Definitions of loneliness abound, but all indicate that the experience of loneliness has the following three salient features:
- It is a universal experience, transcending age, race, geographical location, or religion, and is fundamental to being human.
- Although shared by all, loneliness is primarily a subjective experience, which may be experienced differently by different people.
- Although subjective, loneliness is always very painful (agonizingly so), individualistic, and severely distressing.
Research distinguishes loneliness from loneliness anxiety and solitude. Most people fear loneliness ...