Loneliness during lockdown: An epidemic within the covid-19 pandemic

Juan Manuel García-González and Inmaculada Montero, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, UPO
Rafael Grande, Universidad de Málaga
Dolores Puga, CSIC
Project selected in the Call to support research projects on the social impact of covid-19

In Spain, the lockdown induced by the covid-19 pandemic confined the population to their homes from 14 March to 21 June 2020. This lockdown brought with it a number of different impacts for citizens: among other aspects, there was an increase in loneliness, a public health problem that to a large affects the older population. Knowing how lockdown affects loneliness is fundamental for taking preventive measures. It also helps in designing interventions for reducing the adverse consequences of loneliness for people’s health and their family and social relationships. The research on which this article is based analysed changes in the feeling of loneliness in the population between February and April 2020. To this end, a survey was conducted on a group of 750 people aged over 55 living in Andalusia. This survey was conducted in two stages, coinciding with the months mentioned. The main conclusion drawn from the study is that 56% of the population surveyed reported that they felt lonely during lockdown, which represents an increase over the data obtained before lockdown.
Key points
  • 1
       The feeling of loneliness in the population over 55 in Andalusia rose from 47% to 56% during the lockdown imposed due to the covid-19 pandemic.
  • 2
       Moderate loneliness was exacerbated by lockdown, whereas severe loneliness diminished among the population.
  • 3
       The feeling of loneliness among Andalusian women aged over 55 reached 62% with the lockdown measures taken; in men, the incidence of this feeling was 50%.
  • 4
       Loneliness increased mainly among people under the age of 80. In the population over this age, with high levels of loneliness before lockdown, this situation did not lead to an increase in the feeling of loneliness.
  • 5
       A higher level of education is, in general, a protective factor against loneliness. However, during lockdown, the exacerbation of the feeling of loneliness among the Andalusian population was similar for all educational levels.
  • 6
       Individuals with poorer health status, limitations in their habitual activities and depression already displayed higher levels of loneliness before the pandemic, and this feeling remained the same during lockdown. In the rest of the groups loneliness increased, in comparison with their previous situation.
  • 7
       Emotional loneliness – meaning a lack of trusting relationships – increased notably during lockdown, whereas social loneliness – meaning a lack of relations with one’s social group – decreased considerably.

Classification

Authors

Juan Manuel García-González and Inmaculada Montero , Universidad Pablo de Olavide, UPO
Rafael Grande , Universidad de Málaga
Dolores Puga , CSIC

Tags

Subject areas

Related content

Article

Does unemployment harm mental health?

Stress, depression, insomnia, tension, feeling of uselessness… This article analyses how the mental health of workers was affected by the economic crisis and long-term unemployment.

Article

How many people do we know?

According to this study, we frequently interact with an average of 536 acquaintances, but the number is different for each person. What factors influence the size of our relationship circles?

Article

Who is affected by loneliness and social isolation?

The most visible face of loneliness is the feeling of not having people to call on or trust in case of need. Who does it affect most? We analyse the influence of factors such as age and gender.

Report

Long-life societies confronting the challenge of long-term care

What does long-term care represent for societies with increasing life expectancy? We analyse the research that exists on this issue.

Article

From Moderate to Hyperconnected Users: Six Smartphone Use Profiles and Their Impact on Personal Well-being

What use are young Spaniards making of mobile phones? This study indicates that 19% are hyperconnected, showing difficulties in controlling the use of this technology.

You may also find interesting

Report

The divide between the rural and the urban world

The divide between the rural and the urban world

Social Inclusion

The divide between the rural and urban worlds has important consequences in social, economic, environmental and even political terms. Finding a balance should be a priority.

Report

The divide between young and elderly

The divide between young and elderly

Social Inclusion

Is it more difficult for young people to satisfy their aspirations today? This report analyses in depth the divide that has opened between elderly people and their grandchildren, a generation disenchanted with its future.

Article

Individual and collective responsibility within the context  of the covid-19 pandemic

Individual and collective responsibility within the context of the covid-19 pandemic

Social Inclusion

To fight the pandemic, identifying the psychological factors that influence citizens’ attitudes is fundamental. This study reveals what Spanish people feel responsible for.

// ]]>