Quant & Qual Evidence about increased levels of loneliness

Goals

To gather statistical evidence as well as case studies or examples, to prove that despite a perception of increased connectivity between human beings because of the way we can connect with friends, co-workers and family online, we are actually more lonely and depressed because of a disconnection from ourselves and who we want to be. To find proof that stress, mental health and disengagement levels are at an all-time high in the workplace. This will consist of both quantitative and qualitative evidence.

Early Findings

  • We know that screen time interferes with kids' abilities to read social cues. There's even a study that found that kids get better at reading other people's emotions after just five days away from their digital devices.
  • The internet hasn't helped us feel more connected with anyone. Studies show almost half of us feel lonely and isolated. Some reasons are One: our relationships have grown more superficial. Two: screen time interferes with our ability to read social cues. Three: the emphasis is on the quantity of relationships, not quality. Four: smartphone addiction interferes with face-to-face interactions. Five: remote work can increase isolation. For example, communicating via email or the occasional phone call isn't the same as meeting around the water cooler.
  • Joshua Peters’s, who is a psychotherapist at the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships.opinion, states that social media is partly to blame for more millennial women saying they feel lonely, despite having friends. “We’re more connected than we’ve ever been, but people are feeling more lonely than they ever have,” he told Global News.
  • According to a recent poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, women under 35 tend to express greater feelings of loneliness than other age groups, despite having social lives.
  • A 2017 report found that Instagram is the worst app for mental health, as it can lead to anxiety, depression, loneliness, and issues with sleep, body image and bullying.
  • BYU psychology professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad is one of the world’s leading researchers on social connection. "Her research has uncovered some alarming facts about what isolation can do to both your body and mind. For example, one of her most shocking findings was that extreme social isolation holds the same health risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day."
  • In this interview with Julianne Holt-Lunstad, some things discussed include: How a lack of social connection is bad for your physical health, not just your mental health. The way contemporary economics is contributing to the loneliness epidemic. Which generation is the most lonely. The country that doesn’t schedule meetings after 4pm so that people can go home to their families on time. How lunchtime could be the perfect vehicle for combating the blues.
  • Workplace stress has reached near-epidemic levels.
  • According to some estimates, the financial impact on the US economy may be as high as $300 billion a year when accounting for diminished productivity, absence from work, employee turnover, and health-care costs associated with treating and managing the debilitating effects of workplace stress.
  • The ever-increasing demands of the modern workplace have proved to be a major pain point that ratchets up the pressure on employees. Survey data from employee development solution Bridge by Instructure, a national survey of more than 1,000 office employees, sheds some light on some of the biggest stresses. For example, 78% of respondents said that working longer hours was an important factor in being promoted. Meanwhile, 53% said engaging in workplace politics played a part in advancing their careers, and 50% said that socializing outside of work figured into the mix as well.
  • Engaged Employees are Experiencing Burnout. Findings from a recent study conducted by Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence, in collaboration with the Faas Foundation, found that employers are overlooking the health of their most valued employees.
  • 44% of work-related stress is caused by high workload. No work/Life balance: The inability to manage work and personal life can have a snowball effect.
  • The emerging theory of loneliness is that it doesn't just make people yearn to engage with the world around them. It makes them hyper vigilant to the possibility that others mean to do them harm, which makes it even less likely that they'll be able to connect meaningfully.
  • Brian Primack, the director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh states that while face-to-face social connectedness is strongly associated with well-being, it's not clear what happens when those interactions happen virtually. To investigate, Primack and his colleagues surveyed 1,787 U.S. adults ages 19 to 32 and asked them about their usage of 11 social media platforms outside of work. The survey also gauged social isolation by asking participants questions such as how often they felt left out.

Proposed next steps:

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After our preliminary look at this, it is clear that there is a lot of evidence, both quantitative and qualitative that surround these topics. We do not suggest a case study approach here. Rather, we suggest that we provide a research brief that proves that despite all the online connections people have now, which enable us to connect with friends, family, and coworkers all over the world, we are more lonely and more susceptible to depression and social isolation than ever before, and how this prevents us from being who we truly are and want to be. This will be a global look, unless we are specifically directed to look at just the United States. This will consist of both quantitative and qualitative evidence.
Additionally, (or alternatively), we can provide a research brief that examines and explores the fact that stress, mental health and disengagement levels are at an all-time high in the workplace. We will explore the reasons for that, and prove or disprove that being over connected via social media, cell phones, and email are the reasons for that. This will be a global look, unless we are specifically directed to look at just the United States. This will consist of both quantitative and qualitative evidence.