Survey Suggests Americans are Feeling Loneliness With Holiday Season Approaching

November 20, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson

A survey conducted by ValuePenguin, a data-based personal finance research company, shows that nearly a quarter of Americans do not plan on seeing family and friends for the holidays this year, with more than one in 10 reporting extreme loneliness heading into the winter season. More than 2,000 Americans were surveyed in early November to understand what effects the resurgent coronavirus pandemic and the upcoming holiday season will have on people’s mental health. 

As Americans prepare to celebrate the holidays, many cited the coronavirus pandemic as the main reason for why they will not be seeing loved ones this year. 

According to the survey report, “More than half of Americans said their loneliness stems from the isolation during this crisis. The majority [49%] who won’t be seeing family or friends for some or all of this year’s winter holidays said concerns about minimizing exposure to the virus led to the decision.” 

Focusing on the specifics of what kind of loneliness people are and will be facing ahead of the holidays, researchers found that nearly 70% of Americans are experiencing some variation of loneliness. 

Respondents were asked to rate their loneliness on a scale of one to five, with most rating their loneliness between scores of two and four. Eleven percent of respondents rated their loneliness at the extreme with a score of five, while at the other end of the spectrum, 30% of respondents said they didn’t feel lonely. 

When broken down by generation, younger people were more likely to report extreme loneliness than their older counterparts. Generation Z, those aged between 18 to 24, were the ones who rated their loneliness as a five, with 15% of Gen Zers reporting as such. 

Meanwhile, 9% of millennials, Gen Xers, baby boomers and those in the silent generation reported having extreme loneliness. 

Among the likely reasons as for why Americans are feeling lonely this holiday season, a majority of Americans (51%) said the pandemic was to blame, while 25% of Americans linked their loneliness to missing a loved one. 

Other contributing factors to loneliness include the changing of the seasons. 

Nearly a quarter of Americans said the weather was tied to their loneliness. Thirteen percent of people surveyed said they have experienced seasonal affective disorder, while another 29% have experienced symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, despite not being diagnosed. 

In terms of methods of coping with loneliness and holiday stress, most (60%) preferred watching movies or television. Reading and exercising were also among the top methods of self-care, with 39% and 40% respectively. 

At the same time, less than 10% of Americans said they do not do anything to manage holiday stress and loneliness. 

According to ValuePenguin,“People from the silent generation were the least likely to seek out a restorative from the difficult feelings that can come with the holiday season. Conversely, just 5% of Gen Zers and millennials didn’t seek any avenues for self-care — the lowest of any group.” 

To view the full report by ValuePenguin, visit their website

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