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Social Loneliness and Isolation

The issue of social loneliness and isolation is one of the main problems affected modern society and people of all ages. Humans are used to live and communicate with others creating social organizations and social groups. A human being is asocial creature needed interaction and communication with people like “me”. The human being must engage others, develop relationships, accrue good will, and establish a system of support network resources. In time of need, the individual must actively engage these social resources, seeking help and managing supportive exchanges. This process may require considerable social skill, skill that develops and gains sophistication slowly and with experience. The topic selected for analysis is human interaction in society from psychological point of view. A man cannot live in isolation from other human beings and must interact effectively to organizer his life and work.  The transactional nature of support processes represents another thread of continuity in social support over the life course. The development, maintenance, and engagement of support resources is an active process from the first to the last year of life. This is not to say that the person can always manage support resources effectively and with ease, but rather that the behavior of the focal person matters. Indeed, the skills required in dealing with support resources very likely show developmental continuity.

Loneliness is not natural to human beings because throughout the individual's life, a person engages in an active appraisal of the social world, of relationships with support network members and of the supportive behavior in which they have engaged. The young personalities may be less articulate about this than is the college-educated adult, but the process whereby special attention or its absence, treats or broken promises, come to be appraised in terms of one person's feelings for another begins very early. The assessment of social standing becomes a veritable obsession during adolescence. Adolescents may be more tolerant, encompass a broader range of data, develop more elaborate appraisals, and be less volatile in forming them, but the basic process shows considerable continuity. In short, although the details change, throughout his or her life the individual is engaged in appraising support resources and supportive behavior and in forming beliefs regarding the degree to which he or she is loved and cared for, respected and esteemed, and involved in a network of mutual obligation. The major functions are to provide supplementary assistance to the focal person in dealing with demands and achieving goals, to sustain feelings of being cared for and valued, and to sustain a sense of social identity and social location. “Conversely, lack or loss of interpersonal relationships leads to negative emotional experiences such as anxiety, depression, distress, loneliness, and feelings of isolation?” (Carvallo and Gabriel 2006, p. 698).

Many research studies and statistical data suggest that gender is irrelevant both to levels of support and to its effects on well-being. But quite a few studies find women advantaged when we focus on particular modes and/or sources of support, specifically, emotional support and friends (Kelly, 2002). Likewise, differences in support effects, when they are observed, tend to be specific with respect to cause, mode, and outcome although no clear pattern is yet evident. Future research will benefit from valid, reliable, and focused support measures. No doubt questions regarding gender differences will be specific rather than general and will be explored within the context of social-role and sex-role factors thought to underlie gender effects. Among middle-class people, social support showed a direct effect on distress, regardless of stress level (that is, the number of life events experienced). That is, the data for the middle class were consistent with a direct model whereas those for the lower class indicated a buffer model. Carvallo & Gabriel (2006) stated: “We expected that after receiving feedback of future interpersonal success, high-dismissing individuals would experience higher levels of positive affect relative to low-dismissing individual” (p. 704). Support from colleagues is significantly more important for women than for men in the prediction of anxiety. The relative importance of work and non-work support for men and women suggested by these findings is contrary to both common opinion and some previous findings (Dumm, 2008). Their focus is high-school change, specifically, grades and attendance, peer self-concept, and scholastic self-concept (Neimeyer and Neimeyer 2002).

The statistical results suggest that social isolation and loneliness is a psychological problem for 30 % of the world’s population. Also, it is admitted that urban citizens experience social isolation more often than rural dwellers (see appendix 1). Statistical results show that such problem as social loneliness results from the lack of a network of social relationships and is associated with boredom and depression. In contrast, emotional loneliness results from the absence of a close and intimate attachment to another person and is associated with a sense of isolation and anxiety. The evidence for these propositions is qualified. There is an example of how support might be linked to psychological distress in a more particular manner than is evident in current research. First, regarding the view that people are especially independent and reluctant to seek help from others, a qualitative finding is relevant. In a small sample of families, Dumm (2008) found that half the women, but all the men, showed a negative network orientation: an unwillingness to utilize support resources because of mistrust, independence, or beliefs that others cannot provide help. This posture toward others, it is argued, impedes the growth, maintenance, and use of support resources with adverse effects on well-being. The authors note that regularized patterns of social conflict as well as support are evident in the social networks and that these differed by gender. The gender differences are modest but consistent (Neimeyer and Neimeyer 2002). Especially for women, the "classically integrative institutions" of family, work, and support networks also contain significant elements of friction. Social support variables included the number of extended kin in the community and extended kin and nonkin support resources (those who would help with various problems) (Higdon, 2004). For instance, none of these support variables showed evidence of buffering the effects of either life events or chronic stressors, and only kin support resources showed an association with lower depression. Though, younger women reported particularly high levels of depression and of kin support resources. Further analyses showed no direct or buffer effects for either younger or older women and only one buffer effect for men. Those with more extended kin resources were affected relatively less by life events. Investigation of gender differences in social network precursors of loneliness, Stokes and Levin (1986) found that social network factors, particularly density, were better predictors of loneliness in men than women. In a second study, they explored the density finding further, focusing on same-sex friends. Findings indicated that more interconnected, cohesive social networks are associated with lower loneliness for men but not for women (Howard, 2005).

Critics suggest that the forming of a bond of attachment is programmed into the baby for sound biological reasons. From my personal observations I can say that people who stay close to another person are likely to benefit from an umbrella of protection against an environment which can be very harsh both in climate and predators. Therefore, people who have a trait to attach themselves to society stand a good chance of reaching maturity, and passing on their genes into the next generation, genes for the attachment trait. In that case, failure to form a bond in infancy, or the disruption of a bond, would be counter to the baby's natural tendency, and as a result might have dire social, psychological and physical consequences (Cacioppo and Patrick, 2008). The socio-biologists have demonstrated a primitive form of attachment in elder people. Such experiences in themselves could be disturbing to the people, over and above the separation. Consequently, perhaps the particular circumstance of separation is the factor which gives rise to permanent emotional damage, and not so much the mere fact of separation. The information and facts mentioned above show that separation is traumatic for a person, but there is scope for emotional repair when normal family life resumes in many cases (Carvallo and Gabriel 2006). When the parent returns, the small child might avoid her, or move towards her but move away again without making any physical contact. Sex-role identity is the part of our personality which is responsible for our sex-appropriate behavior. Some behaviors stereotypically defined as male might be drinking beer, playing football, swearing, wearing trousers, smoking cigars or a pipe, flattering women, being decisive, being aggressive (Neimeyer and Neimeyer 2002). Social loneliness affects personal identity and self-perception of every individual. People cannot cope with life circumstances and maintain feignedly relations with people outside their family.

In sum, social isolation and loneliness is a problem of modern men. People do suffer from anxiety for obvious reasons. Instead, they suffer from ostracism. Critics claimed that girls believe that they have already been castrated in order to account for the difference between their own physiology and their brothers. This causes a similar kind of anxiety and makes the girl hate the parent, but eventually identify with her in order to get attention and favor from her father. Social loneliness and isolation are influenced by decreased number of social activities and person-to-person communication. The moral ideals of the parents, as perceived by the person, are assimilated into the personality as the appropriate moral code. The superego may place strain on the personality, since its values are usually unrealistic. However, it has the benefit of making the person considerate of others, and thus enables her to enter society as a conscientious and caring individual. Because of this, the personalities can move beyond the bounds of the family, and enter school and other institutions as a socialized person. Attachment bonds, developed in early age, take various forms, and researchers have found it useful to place these forms into three broad categories. 

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