Monthly Archives: May 2017

Death by Loneliness: Laboratory mice, the U-shaped curve, and Antoine Roquentin

Who gets lonely?

As an academic psychologist, I find working with older adults illuminating for all sorts of reasons. It’s particularly interesting to learn what they won’t discuss. Loneliness seems to be a topic that people resist discussing. When asked about personal loneliness, the research participants that I interview often say evasive things, like “I know someone who is lonely, but I don’t feel lonely myself”. Most agree that it is a phenomenon, however, that is practically synonymous with old age. Most are surprised when I tell them about the many studies that find a second peak of loneliness – in young adulthood – which may even surpass old-age loneliness in severity. Yet more surprising to them is the apparent inseparability of loneliness and culture – different cultures have different social norms concerning relationships, expected social support, and as a result, loneliness. Continue reading

Why health services need to adapt to large-scale migration

Migration is central to the lives of a sizeable portion of today’s global population. In 2015, an estimated 244 million people were international migrants, whilst a further 740 million were estimated to migrate within their own country. Many millions more people, whilst not themselves moving, are directly affected by migration, both as social networks extend across national borders, and as labour markets and service provision become increasingly entangled within the wider global political economy. Continue reading