Loneliness, Connection, and Community

In an era of heightened globalization and social media use, it may seem counterintuitive that the world is experiencing a loneliness problem. Yet Americans across different age groups have reported feelings of loneliness “frequently” or “almost all of the time” and, internationally, the average time spent socializing has fallen in many countries. While it would be easy to assume this phenomenon is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, experiences of loneliness and a lack of social support have been increasing for the last decade. At an individual level, this decrease in human interaction is associated with a variety of physical and mental health consequences. At a broader level, issues of isolation, insularity, and disrupted notions of community unfold in a wide range of social and political contexts with important implications. The 2022-23 Common CAHSS will examine the causes and consequences to what appears to be an epidemic of loneliness and disrupted social connection and explore possible paths toward rebuilding a sense of community.