Loneliness is nowadays considered one of the main problems in society. The negative experience of a discrepancy between the desired and the achieved personal network of relationships is common and affects both younger and older adults. This chapter first addresses well-established aspects and new developments in the main concepts of loneliness and social isolation, the measuring instruments and the prevalence of loneliness. This chapter continues with an overview of theoretical ideas regarding loneliness, focusing on individual-level and societal predisposing characteristics as well as on genetic/evolutionary perspectives on the onset and continuation of loneliness. The main part of this chapter is dedicated to empirical evidence from many sources and disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and epidemiological sciences. The prevention of loneliness, coping, and interventions are addressed in the final part of this chapter. Other chapters in this volume address topics related to loneliness, namely social rejection, the neuroscience of social disconnection, social networks, and relationships and health (see Leary & Acosta, Chapter 28, this volume; Cacioppo, Chapter 16, this volume; Felmlee & Sinclair, Chapter 34, this volume; and Holt-Lunstad, Chapter 33, this volume).

doi.org/10.1017/9781316417867.031, hdl.handle.net/1765/114799
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

de Jong Gierveld, J, van Tilburg, T.G, & Dykstra, P.A. (2018). Loneliness and social isolation: New ways of theorizing and conducting research. In Cambridge handbook of personal relationships, 2nd Ed (pp. 391–404). doi:10.1017/9781316417867.031