Loneliness Might Be More Complicated Than We Thought

In particular, lonely people who have more social support tend to be less stressed. Now, yes, it might sound obvious that social support protects against some of the negative effects of loneliness, but the details are a little paradoxical here: it turns out that only social support from friends appears to be helpful in breaking the link between loneliness and stress. Lonely people who receive more social support from family and from romantic partners seem to be just as stressed out.

Where does that leave us, then? Well, for one, with the perhaps somewhat unhelpful advice that the way to fight loneliness is to seek out social support from friends.

And with the conclusion that we might know less about loneliness than we thought. Loneliness decidedly isn’t the same as social isolation, and it has a number of serious health effects scientists are just beginning to understand, suggesting that there’s a strong need for more research on the topic.