But only true loneliness, not just social isolation, increases the risk of illness.
Loneliness, not just low social contact, increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, new study found in the journal Diabetology... Scientists suggest that people will become less ill if they are helped to form closer contacts with others.
Loneliness scientists call a state in which a person has a need for socialization, but for some reason it is not satisfied (real communication does not correspond to desires). The authors report that one in five adults in Britain and one in three in the United States report feeling lonely at times.
The authors analyzed data from participants in a long-term UK study on aging. The study followed 4,112 volunteers over the age of 50 for 12 years. Scientists assessed the level of their loneliness at the beginning of the study. It turned out to be a predictor of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Scientists emphasize that loneliness and social isolation are different phenomena. Social isolation, that is, living alone, is not a risk factor for diabetes. However, the loneliness that characterizes the quality of human relationships has this effect.
A possible physiological prerequisite for this effect may be that prolonged loneliness can influence the body's response to stress.