A recent study on human behavior found that loneliness is a common occurrence during adulthood, regardless of one’s gender, location or orientation. Researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied various types of situations that people described as lonely throughout their lifetime and discovered that peaks are typically experienced in one’s late 20s, mid-50s and late 80s.

The results, which were published on International Psychogeriatrics looked into the responses of 340 residents in San Diego County aged 27 to 101 years old. These were people who had participated in one of three previous research about mental health and aging. Those who were diagnosed with psychological or serious physical conditions, as well as people who required living assistance and resided in nursing care facilities, were not included. 

The participants were evaluated using several measures, including a 20-point Loneliness Scale created by UCLA and a four-item tool that measured social isolation (self-reported). The latter also assessed a person’s wisdom level, identifying six key qualities such as control over emotions, insight into the self and one’s actions, an acceptance of value relativism, pro-social responses (like sense of fairness, compassion, empathy, altruism), a general understanding of life and social situations and being decisiveness. Three-fourths of those asked said they experience moderate to high degrees of loneliness at certain points in their lives.

Research proponents Dr. Dilip Jeste and his team found that age and loneliness were related in a way that saw peaks at certain ages, regardless of gender. It was also observed that during their transitions in one’s life, people tended to become more self-aware and sensitive, thus leading to the conclusion that wisdom does help in curbing loneliness and allowing people to get back on track. Behaviors that are linked to wisdom, such as self-reflection, compassion and being able to control emotions, are huge factors to getting out of an emotional rut.

In a separate report, Psychology Today wrote that there are seven types of loneliness. These include loneliness brought about by new situations, being different, having no sweetheart, not having time for the self, untrustworthy friends and missing a quiet presence. All of these are generally addressed by being in strong relationships and not necessarily the romantic kind.