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Three In Five Americans Consider Themselves Lonely: Cigna Index

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Loneliness at the workplace is on the rise in America and is resulting in less productivity as well as lower retention levels, a new study showed.

According to Cigna's 2020 Loneliness Index, three out of five adults, or 61 percent, consider themselves lonely. This represents a seven percentage point increase from 2018.

The study surveyed more than 10,400 adults and is based on the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a 20-item questionnaire to assess self-reported, subjective feelings of loneliness or social isolation.

The study notes that the average American employee spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime and data shows a clear connection between work and loneliness.

The survey results come against the backdrop of a rising mental health crisis in America, with more than 46 million people living with a mental illness.

The study showed some interesting trends, including that loneliness has a larger impact on certain demographics. Men are slightly more lonelier than women, while younger people aged 18 to 22 are lonelier than older people, aged 72 and above.

The increasing use of social media has a major impact on loneliness, the study found. Very heavy social media users are significantly more likely to feel alone, isolated, and without companionship.

Loneliness also has implications for the business community. According to the study, lonely workers said they are less engaged or less productive, and reported lower retention rates.

Lonely workers are twice as likely to miss a day of work due to illness and five times more likely to not report for work due to stress. They also think about quitting their jobs more than twice as often as non-lonely workers.

Loneliness can negatively impact the quality of work, with 12 percent of lonely workers believing their work is lower quality than it should be.

Remote workers are more likely than non-remote workers to always or sometimes feel alone, according to the survey.

Cigna said it is taking several steps to combat the rise of loneliness and improve the mental health of people.

The health service company is expanding its network of more than 170,000 mental and behavioral health care providers to help customers deal with issues like loneliness, stress, depression, anxiety and addiction.

The Cigna Foundation has committed $3 million over a three-year period to support mental well-being in schools as part of its broader $25 million 'Healthier Kids for Our Future' initiative.

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