Australian Men are Prone to Loneliness

Australian Men are Prone to Loneliness

Summary:
– as in per countries, Australian men are more likely to experience loneliness than women
– in 2017 in the UK ministerial responsibility was given to fight the problem
– program includes a panel of sociologists discussing the issue
– chronic loneliness is as toxic to our health as smoking & obesity, & loneliness is also implicated in rising levels of suicide
– men are particularly vulnerable to loneliness following partnership breakdown & are less a e to cope with it
– men also do not typically thrive when living alone
– single households are dominated by men in the age range: 20 to 60 years
– loneliness – definition – it is the emotion we feel when we re disconnected in some way from those we wish to be with, to be accepted by, or to belong to
– Sigmund Baughman linked loneliness with love – he says: when we are well-loved, we are seldom lonely – he believed loneliness to be symptomatic of our times – he called it “liquid modernity” – because of the pursuit of individual freedoms, the marketisation of public services & culture, the off-shoring of our jobs – which brought about a general loosening of all social ties in our society
– David Miller argues that we need a minimum number of positive, lasting & significant relationships to provide a sense of belonging – when Belongingness needs are not met, feelings such as loneliness, social isolation & alienation ensue
– David Baker – a researcher of the phenomenon – has shown that the proportion of Australians transitioning into periods of loneliness has increased during the period 2001 to 2009 & 2 subsequent national surveys over the last decade further confirm the trend as well as 5 key findings about loneliness:
1) the different gendered experience of loneliness impacts men more greatly
2) contrary to previous findings that loneliness was concentrated in two distinct human age ranges (late adolescence/early adulthood & post-retirement), the Australian experience of loneliness would now appear to be spread across the entire human life span – that the graph depicting loneliness now resembles a dome-shape, not a shallow dish-shape – this means even people in the so-called “prime of life” are also likely to experience loneliness in Australia – for some men this loneliness persists from late adolescence right into old age (with men reporting: people do not visit me as much as I would like; I have no one to confide in & I have no one to lean upon in times of trouble
3) serious loneliness in Australia peaked for approximately 1/3 of men during their prime of life (25 to 44 years of age cohort)
4) – regarding finding 3, men were more at risk than women with separated women less likely to be at risk of experiencing loneliness compared with married women, with the exact opposite finding re marital status for men (separated men were more likely to be lonely with those termed in the report as being “dumped, broke & sacked” most likely to report being lonely)
5) re loneliness the critical determinant is the quality of relationships (face-to-face contact; the time given to others; doing things with others; being noticed & held in high regard) not the quantity of relationships
– Professor Franklin notes 2 common reports by lonely people –
A) they feel emotionally cold
B) they feel unseen
– he notes: women in marriages are often “kin keepers” & social mediators so that when couples break up, men often have no relationships (& when this is combined with social awkwardness, social laziness & lack of emotional candour leaves them vulnerable to further loneliness once they become lonely)
– he notes:
– that Anglo-Saxon heritage men in a heterosexual relationship are more likely to live closer to their wife’s parents/family, with closer relationships for their children & their maternal grandparents being reported – rather than the fraternal grandparents
– historically formed their primary emotional relationships at work (both industrial-type work & the professions where “managers” are increasingly prevalent & impede mateship/group loyalty) rather than in the home (& that women were more likely to be connected with the community/neighbourhood than men)
– men’s sheds have been useful in helping retired men

– go to the source to hear the rest of the programme

Source: ABC RN | Big Ideas | podcast date: 13 December 2018

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