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The Personality Trait That Protects Against Loneliness

The Personality Trait That Protects Against Loneliness post image

The personality trait that cuts the risk of feeling lonely in half.

People who are emotionally stable are 60 percent less likely to feel lonely, research finds.

Whether middle-aged or older, people who are able to adapt to stressful situations tend to feel less lonely.

In middle-aged people, being extraverted also helps to protect against loneliness.

This link between extraversion and reduced loneliness was not seen in the old, though.

This could be because people in middle age are more likely to be mixing with others for work or childcare.

However, no amount of extraversion will help a person who is socially isolated.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who lived alone in old age had the highest risk of loneliness.

People living alone in their 70s were at four times the risk of feeling lonely.

The study included over 4,000 people, some of whom were aged 45-69, others who in their 70s.

Researchers measured their personality and asked how lonely they felt.

The results showed that people with stable personalities — those who are low in neuroticism — felt less loneliness.

People who are stable tend to have low levels of anxiety, sadness and irritability.

Stable people were, on average, 60 percent less likely to feel lonely, the study found.

For the study, the researchers used machine-learning to examine the relationships between loneliness, personality and other factors.

Dr Drew Altschul, the study’s first author, said:

“The use of machine learning in this study allows us to identify and replicate differences in what risk factors are linked to loneliness in middle and older age people.

Loneliness is a growing public health issue, identifying the things that precede loneliness is difficult, however, contemporary machine learning algorithms are positioned to help identify these predictors.”

Another factor shown to protect against loneliness is wisdom.

Wise people enjoy being exposed to diverse viewpoints and other people look to them for advice.

Wise people are also skilled at filtering negative emotions and do not postpone major decisions.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Medicine (Altschul et al., 2020).

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