23 Apr 2013

Feeling lonely can lessen with age, study shows

8:48 pm on 23 April 2013

The chance of feeling lonely may decrease with age, a new study has found.

A report by Statistics New Zealand on loneliness used data from a social survey in 2010 of 8500 people aged over 15.

The results show that young people are more likely to feel alone than those over 65.

Almost one in five people (18%) under 30 feel lonely some time in the previous month, compared with just over one in 10 people (11%) aged 65 or older.

Overall, Statistics New Zealand says one in three adults, or just over 1.02 million people, feel lonely each month.

A spokesperson, Steve Manning, says loneliness is largely seen as problem for older people, but the report shows that attention could be given to loneliness in younger people as well.

Mr Manning says factors associated with loneliness such as mental health, having enough money and living alone, differ by age group.

He says older people living in hardship are significantly more likely to feel lonely than younger people in the same situation.

The spokesperson for counselling service Youthline says loneliness is at the core of young people misbehaving.

Stephen Bell says there needs to be a policy framework to combat loneliness for adolescents moving into adulthood.