Growing up is really hard, but what if it means being more predisposed to loneliness, too? That’s what a new study from the BBC, called the Loneliness Experiment, has found. The study, which surveyed 55,000 people online all over the world, revealed that young people are the loneliest age group, and it seems like it’s something that everybody goes through during that phase of their life.
According to the BBC study, while 27% of elderly people over 75 said they feel lonely often or very often, the percentage was the highest in a much younger age group.
Among people in the 16-24 age group, 40% said they feel lonely, making this the loneliest age group in the study. Think youth is the key to happiness? Think again, because that obviously isn’t the case.
Although it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes these young adults feel so lonely, report author Claudia Hammond doesn’t think it’s social media, which might seem like the easiest factor to blame. She noted that all people surveyed were asked when in their lives they’d felt the loneliest, and many pointed to that same period of young adulthood, so it’s hard to blame this generation’s loneliness on Instagram and Snapchat, which didn’t exist when many study participants were younger.
Instead, Hammond thinks this “time of transition” could be the cause of all that loneliness. Graduating high school, going to college, starting a job, moving to a new place, figuring out who you’re going to be—that’s all really tough stuff, and it’s easy to feel lonely when you’re going through it.
“In addition to this, people aren’t accustomed to these feelings of loneliness and haven’t yet had the experience to know that they often pass, or to the chance to find ways to cope with those feelings, such as distracting themselves or looking for company,” Hammond wrote.
So if you’re still in that lonely part of your young adult life, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone—not by a long shot. This, too, shall pass. And according to the study’s findings, this period of loneliness is the worst it gets. That’s something positive to think about, right?