People around the world experienced an increase in loneliness during the COVID‐19 pandemic, which, although small, could have implications for people's long‐term mental and physical health, longevity, and well‐being, according to research published in the American Psychologist, stated an American Psychological Association news release. Mareike Ernst, Ph.D., of Johannes Gutenberg‐University Mainz in Germany, and her co‐authors wanted to explore whether changes such as lockdowns, physical distancing, and the switch to remote work and school during the pandemic increased people's loneliness. The researchers reviewed 34 studies from four continents — primarily in North America and Europe — involving more than 200,000 total participants. The researchers found a small — approximately 5% on average — but significant increase in the prevalence of loneliness during the pandemic across the individual studies. However, not all groups experienced that increase. More research is needed on the factors that put some individuals and groups at higher risk of experiencing loneliness, whether the changes are primarily due to alterations in the quality or the quantity of people's social interactions, and whether those differed across subpopulations, such as students and older adults.
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