According to a new Cigna study, the feeling of isolation was being felt more by American workers while the younger employees of the country are going through greater issues of loneliness compared to their older colleagues.
According to the second annual Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index, which is based on a survey of 10,000 adults, about three out of every five adults, or 61 per cent of the respondents said that they sometimes or always felt lonely. Compared to the company’s first loneliness survey a year ago, that number is 7 per cent higher.
In the case of younger adults, that number was found to be even bigger. Similar complaints of feeling lonely were reported by 73 per cent of the young adults – employees aged between 18 and 22 years and also known as Gen Z. the last year survey had put the figure for this group of workers at 69 per cent.
“We had a hypothesis that society — the U.S. specifically — was dealing with an elevated level of loneliness, disconnection,” explained Cigna CEO David Cordani. “We can start to see those disconnections manifest themselves in other health issues showing up for individuals … whether you think about it through the lens of depression, stress … or more heavy, complex behavioral issues.”
Their greater tendency to use social media could be one of the major reasons that the younger adults tended to feel more isolated, the report noted. An increasing correlation between social media usage and feelings of loneliness was correspondingly identified in the survey based study. 71 per cent or more than seven out of 10 heavy social media users reported feeling lonely. That was higher than the number reported in last year’s survey which was at 53 per cent. In comparison, only about 51 per cent of light social media users made such complaints of loneliness which was more than the 47 per cent reported last year.
The report also said that another factor that is possibly making the younger employees feel more alienated may be because they are most often at the bottom rung of the career ladder.
Isolation feelings were reported by almost two-thirds of workers who had been at a job for less than six months. In comparison, only about 40 per cent of workers who have remained with a company for 10 years or more reported of loneliness.
On the Cigna Loneliness index, a much higher number was allocated to for entry-level workers compared to experienced workers, middle managers and executives. A feeling that there was no one at work they can turn to was reported by more than half of the group.
However the report also pointed out that loneliness is also a problem for those at the top of the ladder. Feelings that there is no one at work that they can talk to was reported by 56 per cent of senior executives and about 60 per cent believed that no one really knows them well.
“They’re more isolated from other employees. If we think about the way to mitigate this — which is having coffee, having lunch with your co-workers — that’s not a typical workplace culture for a lot of senior executives,” said Cigna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Douglas Nemecek. “So, it’s something that we have to think about and work on.”
(Adapted from CNBC.com)