Social Isolation On The Rise
A just-published survey seems to show that fewer of us have friends to whom we can personally confide. In 1985, 75% of Americans had a confidant, but in 2004 that percentage had dropped to 50%.
Excerpt from the June 23, 2006 edition of the Washington Post:
"Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago, and a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide, according to a comprehensive new evaluation of the decline of social ties in the United States.The article mentions television and work obligations as possible causes of the drop in social interaction. Read the entire article, which doesn't mention loneliness. Perhaps the word loneliness is no longer an acceptable word, or perhaps loneliness is an outcome of social isolation.
"A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles, more than double the number who were similarly isolated in 1985. Overall, the number of people Americans have in their closest circle of confidants has dropped from around three to about two.
"The comprehensive new study paints a sobering picture of an increasingly fragmented America, where intimate social ties -- once seen as an integral part of daily life and associated with a host of psychological and civic benefits -- are shrinking or nonexistent....
"If close social relationships support people in the same way that beams hold up buildings, more and more Americans appear to be dependent on a single beam.
"Compared with 1985, nearly 50 percent more people in 2004 reported that their spouse is the only person they can confide in. But if people face trouble in that relationship, or if a spouse falls sick, that means these people have no one to turn to for help...
'"They may have 600 friends on Facebook.com [a popular networking Web site] and e-mail 25 people a day, but they are not discussing matters that are personally important.'"
Interestingly enough, on the very next page of this same print edition of the Washington Post is this article, about depression.
Your thoughts about the increase of social isolation and a possible connection to some types of depression?