Despite some studies attesting to the negative consequences arising from pandemic solitude, a new study by the University of Reading uncovered positive effects on well-being.
As published in Frontiers in Psychology, over 2,000 participants, including both adolescents and adults, had taken part in a study in which their well-being was assessed when the COVID-19 pandemic had occurred.
From the University of Reading authors: “The present research explored the potential benefits of solitude from a pragmatist approach: a ground-up, top-down perspective that is receptive to new knowledge but informed by theory.”
“Participant recruitment was stratified by age and gender, and the sample involved 2,035 individuals including adolescents (13–16 years), adults (35–55 years), or older adults (65+ years). Data were analyzed with a mixed-methods approach,” the authors also stated in their journal article.
In the study, although some of the participants described experiencing a worsening mood or well-being, the majority felt the solitude led to productive and positive effects.
“Older adults also reported feeling most peaceful in solitude and described their social connection and alienation less frequently, suggesting they see solitude and social time as more distinct states,” the results determined.
“Our paper shows that aspects of solitude, a positive way of describing being alone, is recognised across all ages as providing benefits for our well-being,” said the study’s lead author in a news release.