Loneliness is nowadays considered to be 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. The chapter continues by an overview of theoretical ideas regarding loneliness, focusing on individuallevel and societal predisposing characteristics as well as on genetic/evolutionary perspectives on the onset and continuation of loneliness. The main part of the 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 the 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, this volume; Cacioppo, this volume; Felmlee & Sinclair, this volume; and Holt-Lunstad, this volume).

Department of Sociology

de Jong Gierveld, J., van Tilburg, T., & Dykstra, P. (2016). New Ways of Theorizing and Conducting Research in the Field of Loneliness and Social Isolation. In Anita Vangelisti & Daniel Perlman (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships, second edition, Cambridge University Press (in press) (pp. 1–30). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/93235