Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), First Deputy Director, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Head of the Center for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute for Social Policy, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia. email@example.com
Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Leading Researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is dedicated to analyzing the age characteristics of the distribution of loneliness in Russian society. The analysis is based on data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE). Loneliness is examined as subjectively experiencing state that is caused by the nature of one’s social situation and individual age characteristics. It is shown that the age structure of loneliness reflects the degree and intensity of how this issue is exacerbated when one grows older. Loneliness can often be encountered by people of young and middle ages, however, it is mostly inherent to the elderly. The analyzed age structure is defined to a significant degree by the nature of changes in the social roles played at different life stages by people belonging to various social groups. The loss or inadequate replacement of previous roles, especially in an old age – which causes the severing of vital social bonds, deprives people of the interactions they are accustomed to, and develops within them a sense of uselessness – becomes one of the main causes (if not the main cause) of the exacerbation of the loneliness problem. The problematic age groups are highlighted, those people who find themselves in an unfavorable position and suffer from isolation and solitude most of all. Attention is drawn to the fact that one’s feeling of loneliness is directly connected to those health status indices that closely correlate with one’s age. Health condition does not just affect the distribution of loneliness, but also how acutely one experiences the feeling.