The study, published by the global health service company Cigna, found that 46 percent of US adults report sometimes or always feeling lonely and 47 percent report feeling left out. Possible loneliness scores range from 20 to 80, with the national average a 44. Contrary to common misconceptions, social media use isn't a good predictor of loneliness.
Among respondents, key social behavior patterns emerged that were predictive of increased feelings of loneliness.
"Loneliness is defined as a feeling of being alone or lacking social connectedness", Douglas Nemecek, M.D., chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna, told CBS News.
18 percent say they rarely or never feel close to people, and the same portion of Hartford residents say they rarely or never feel like there are people who really understand them.
However, only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis.
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Some results of the survey of 20,000 adults were alarming: * almost half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent).
Respondents who had too much or too little of any of these activities had higher reported scores of loneliness.
The people who feel lonely are likely to get a heart stroke or a heart attack.
"We must change this trend by reframing the conversation to be about "mental wellness" and 'vitality" to speak to our mental-physical connection.
The survey also revealed that striking the right work-life balance can combat feelings of isolation, with those working less than desired actually feeling lonelier than those working more than desired.
Those who are employed, for example, are less lonely than students and the unemployed, the latter of whom have the highest feelings of loneliness.