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More Americans report feeling lonely — blame work and social media

Survey finds younger generations are lonelier
Loneliness survey finds young generations are lonelier than boomers 01:11

Americans are feeling increasingly isolated, and workplace conditions only serve to increase the problem. That's according to a survey out this week that found three in five, or 61%, of adult U.S. workers reported being lonely, up more than five-fold from 2018.

The report by health insurer Cigna found the spike in loneliness in surveying more than 10,000 adult workers in July and August of 2019. Employees reporting good relationships with colleagues were 10 points less lonely on an 80-point scale, according to the findings.

"The trends shaping how we work – increasing use of technology, more telecommuting and the always-on work culture – are leaving Americans more stressed, less rested, spending more time on social media and less time with friends and family," David Cordani, Cigna's president and CEO, said in a statement. "For the business community, it is resulting in less engagement, less productivity and lower retention levels.

How to combat loneliness, and how it differs from depression 04:59

Sixty-three percent of men reported being lonely, compared to 58% of women, according to the findings. Social media was also tied to feelings of isolation, with 72% of very heavy social media users saying they are lonely, versus 51% of light users.

The feelings of not being connected prevailed across generations, with Generation Z, those 18 to 22 years old, scoring the highest, at about 50, on the 80-point loneliness scale, while boomers were found to be the least lonely, scoring about 43.

The findings suggest that employers have a sound business reason to address the issue, as lonely workers are more likely to miss work due to illness or stress, and 12% more of those viewed as lonely did not feel their work was up to snuff than those who view themselves as less lonely.

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