By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – This time of year brings happiness to many but for others, it can be quite isolating. And according to a new study, loneliness is much more prevalent than previously thought. But what may be more surprising is the ages at which loneliness peaks.

Loneliness is associated with physical and mental decline and researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that three quarters of study participants reports moderate to high levels of loneliness. In addition, they found it peaks at three stages of life: in the late 20s, mid-50s and late 80s.

In the late 20s, some people worry that their peers made better life decisions than they did. In the mid-50s, people start having a decline in health. And in the late 80s, people are getting sicker and have often lost a spouse and close friends.

They did find that people with more wisdom experienced less loneliness.

The researchers say loneliness is a feeling, it doesn’t mean being alone or not having friends but is a subjective sense that the social relationships you want are not the social relationships you have.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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