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ICM have been investigating loneliness among young people with the Co-op Foundation this year, an issue that is often unspoken about.

We’ve spoken to young people aged between 10 and 25 years old about their feelings of loneliness, what they’ve done to try to help their feelings in the past and what impact this had. We also explored how comfortable this age group feel talking about loneliness, and what would make them feel more comfortable opening up.

The results highlighted that loneliness is a felt at some point by the majority of young people, with 92% of 10-25-year olds ever feeling lonely. Those aged 18-25 are particularly likely to feel lonely often or always (16%) compared to 10-17-year olds (5%), indicating that it isn’t always a fleeting feeling.

The most common methods of dealing with loneliness are waiting for the feeling to pass (36%), spending more time with family (32%) and using time alone in a more positive way (29%), with those aged 18-25 more likely to use self-soothing techniques such as waiting for the feeling to pass (44%) and trying to see things in a more positive way (41%). Waiting for the feeling to pass was the least helpful action (with just 47% of those who tried this saying it helped) compared to spending more time with family and friends which was the most helpful (94% respectively among those who tried this).

Just 26% of 10-25-year olds feel confident talking about feeling lonely, but three-quarters would feel comfortable supporting a friend who told them they felt lonely.

The Co-op Foundation have now launched a youth-led campaign based on the results to promote supporting loneliness. More information about the campaign, as well as the animation video, can be found here: https://lonelynotalone.org/.

ICM interviewed a representative sample of 2,044 10-25-year olds living in the UK. Fieldwork was conducted between 27th February and 12th March 2019. To ensure a representative sample, during fieldwork demographic quotas were applied and at the analysis stage data was weighted by age, gender and region. We used the national loneliness measures recommended by the Office for National Statistics, to add to the comparable and growing body of research on this topic.

Full data tables can be downloaded here: ICM – Co-op Foundation – Loneliness Among Young People 2019

The full report from the Co-op Foundation can be found here.

If you’d like to find out more about youth loneliness or you are looking to explore similar topics, please contact us below!

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