If you felt lonely sometime in the past decade you were not alone. Loneliness – the disconnect we feel when our desire for interpersonal relationships is not met by those we perceive we currently have – was experienced by three out of ten Australians between 2001 and 2009. Although the subjective nature of this experience makes measuring loneliness difficult, understanding it is important for the development of a range of social policies. A recent paper by The Australia Institute found that an episode of loneliness was most likely to last for less than a year; however, for those whose experience extended beyond 12 months, it was more likely to last for three or more years, with 13 per cent of respondents also identifying repeat episodes. The proportion of Australians experiencing loneliness in any given year was fairly consistent at around one in ten people (9 per cent).

Originally published by On Line Opinion on July 2, 2012

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