Veterans’ Experiences of Loneliness and Social Isolation: What do we know?

Loneliness is defined as being a subjective social and emotional experience. It is the difference between the social relationships we have and the ones we wish we had – consider feeling alone in a crowded room. “Distinctly, social isolation is more objective and reflects actual number of social connections, and the individual’s integration into the social environment”

Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research

Loneliness and social isolation are two different things, although when most people talk about them, they do so together (much like this blog!), and many assume that they are the same.  Loneliness is defined as being a subjective social and emotional experience.  It is the difference between the social relationships we have and the ones we wish we had – consider feeling alone in a crowded room. Distinctly, social isolation is more objective and reflects actual number of social connections, and the individual’s integration into the social environment. 

Loneliness:  a subjective social and emotional experience.
Social Isolation:  the absence of social contact.

Both loneliness and social isolation are areas of huge concern as they are now well recognised as being linked to poor physical health and well-being, such as an increased risk of depression, high blood pressure, cognitive decline, and mortality.  Although there is no direct…

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