An extensive federally funded research has revealed that there is scientific evidence to prove what people have been saying for so long - that loneliness is like a disease which is actually contagious. As per the study, loneliness tends to spread from one person to another, thereby leading to the conclusion that one person's emotions can largely affect friends, family and neighbors.
For the sake of study, data was collected from more than 4,000 people over a period of 10 years and analyzed, leading researchers to believe that lonely people increase the chances of someone they know or are in regular contact with to start feeling lonely over a period of time. The feeling of being alone can "spread one more degree of separation, causing a friend of a friend or even the sibling of a friend to feel desolate".
"Loneliness can be transmitted. Loneliness is not just the property of an individual. It can be transmitted across people -- even people you don't have direct contact with", explained the study's lead researcher John T. Cacioppo, a University of Chicago Psychologist.
The study is valuable in more ways than psychological, as loneliness has been linked to various medical problems, including depression, insomnia and generally poor health. "Identifying some of the causes could help reduce the emotion and improve health", the researchers noted.
The study, findings of which are currently being refined through more analysis, can be found detailed in the December issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.