Loneliness during young adulthood affects future job prospects and social standing, study finds

Loneliness during young adulthood affects future job prospects and social standing, study finds
Representational image (Credits: ANI)
Loneliness, often dismissed as a fleeting emotion, carries profound implications for mental, emotional and physical well-being. Its silent grip extends far beyond mere solitude, leaving individuals vulnerable to a plethora of negative consequences by infiltrating every aspect of their lives. And by every aspect, we mean every aspect — even professional.

New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, in partnership with the University of Greenwich, has uncovered a direct socioeconomic impact of loneliness in early adolescence.

A long-term impact

Lonely young adults are more prone to being disengaged from education or employment and perceive themselves as less employable, according to the study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine recently. As a consequence, such individuals tend to get positioned lower on the economic ladder compared to their less lonely counterparts.

Findings revealed that young adults who grappled with loneliness earlier in life encountered challenges in their young adulthood, irrespective of their current loneliness status. This underscores the long-term economic implications of loneliness and the potential economic benefits of addressing loneliness during early adolescence.

Researchers emphasise that early-life loneliness not only impacts an individual's ability to thrive in the job market, but also imposes direct costs on the economy.

A comprehensive study


This research drew from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, tracking 2,232 individuals born in England and Wales during 1994-1995. Over time, participants were evaluated at ages 12, 18 and 26 for loneliness levels, while also being asked to rate their social status. Employment status and employability were then gauged at age 18.

Prior studies have hinted at a two-way relationship between loneliness and social standing. However, by leveraging longitudinal data, this research revealed that while loneliness adversely influenced future social standing, social standing did not affect future loneliness levels

The study's proponents advocate for further longitudinal investigations to unravel the enduring repercussions of loneliness at various life stages, as this could offer invaluable insights for devising preventative strategies. Ultimately, alleviating loneliness in children and young adults could yield dividends not only for their employment prospects, but also for the broader economy and society at large.