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Veritas numquam perit

Who Became Lonely during the COVID-19 Pandemic? An Investigation of the Socioeconomic Aspects of Loneliness in Japan

Pattaphol Yuktadatta, Mostafa Saidur Rahim Khan, Yoshihiko Kadoya

City Lights

This study examines the extent of loneliness among men and women of various ages in Japan during the pandemic and attempts to determine the underlying causes. We used Hiroshima University's Household Behavioral and Financial Survey datasets in 2020 and 2021. We found that loneliness is common among the Japanese population and that a significant number of people became lonely for the first time during the pandemic. In general, loneliness was greater among younger respondents, but older people became lonelier during the pandemic. The findings of this study suggest that health authorities should not generalise cases of loneliness but rather intervene individually in each group to avoid further complications.

A Longitudinal Study on Loneliness during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan

Sumeet Lal, Trinh Xuan Thi Nguyen, Abdul-Salam Sulemana, Pattaphol Yuktadatta, Mostafa Saidur Rahim Khan, and Yoshihiko Kadoya

Image by Sean Boyd

The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has added additional dimensions to the loneliness problem, which existing studies rarely identify. This study focuses on three types of loneliness: long-term (feeling of loneliness experienced both before and during the pandemic), post-pandemic (feeling of loneliness experienced throughout the whole pandemic period), and fresh loneliness (feeling of loneliness experienced only in the last year of the pandemic). The weighted logit regression results revealed that many Japanese people remained or became lonely during the pandemic and identified variations based on gender, age, and socioeconomic and health characteristics changes. These results indicated that long-term, post-pandemic, and fresh loneliness have distinct characteristics. 

Has Smartphone Use Influenced Loneliness during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan?

Trinh Xuan Thi Nguyen, Sumeet Lal, Sulemana Abdul-Salam, Pattaphol Yuktadatta, Louis McKinnon, Mostafa Saidur Rahim Khan, and Yoshihiko Kadoya

Image by Eddy Billard

Even though the influence of smartphone use on an increased risk of feeling lonely has been recognised as a global public health concern, this influence may have changed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Because of health safety measures restricting personal interactions, smartphones have become an essential means of communication. Contrary to conventional evidence, our findings show that smartphone use mitigated the risk of loneliness during the pandemic. The results of this study can help guide policymaking by showing the importance of providing adequate digital platforms to manage loneliness and mental health during times of isolation.

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