Single parents and people living alone have recorded the highest levels of loneliness during lockdown.
Loneliness can have as big an impact on health as obesity, heavy smoking or excess drinking.
The findings of a new lockdown loneliness study have been released following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that people living alone in England will soon be able to stay at another household to form a “support bubble”.
Researchers questioned 2,000 people and measured their responses on a loneliness scale, with a higher score suggesting a greater degree of loneliness.
A score of 56 or more reflects a high level of loneliness, with nearly one in five Brits scoring that figure or higher.
The researchers asked respondents about their mindset before and after lockdown.
People in the East Midlands were found to be the loneliest in lockdown with a score of 44.5. Those in Northern Ireland scored the lowest at 41.4.
The region suffering the biggest increase in loneliness was the North-East of England at +1.9 on the pre-lockdown figure. Wales recorded the lowest at +0.2.
Single parents with one child register a higher score than any other category (49.7).
Single mothers are the most affected demographic during lockdown when it comes to loneliness. Their lockdown score came in at 49.4, an increase of 2.5 on the pre-pandemic figure.
Divorcees, particularly women, experienced the biggest increase on the loneliness scale compared to people with other marital statuses. Divorced women recorded a lockdown loneliness score of 44.3, a rise of 2.4 on the pre-pandemic figure.
Daniel Russell developed The UCLA Loneliness Scale which is included in 80% of all studies about loneliness.
His scale provided the format for the research commissioned by the online repeat prescription service Echo, which is part of Lloyd Pharmacy. Go to https://www.echo.co.uk/c/loneliness/