Empathy and Compassion, Can Drive Away Loneliness

Empathy And Compassion Can Drive Away Loneliness

A cross-cultural study among middle-aged and older adults detected the personality traits that protect them from loneliness.

Key points:

  • Loneliness is associated with unfavorable health outcomes.
  • A new study found a strong inverse correlation between loneliness and wisdom.
  • The research included people of two age groups from Italy and the USA.
  • Empathy and compassion are the two compelling protective factors against loneliness.

Not having enough meaningful personal connections puts a person at a higher risk of unhealthy aging, cumulative evidence claims. The latest research dedicated to this issue revealed there is a strong inverse correlation between loneliness and wisdom. This means the wiser the individuals, the less lonely they are.

Authors defined wisdom as a personality trait that includes components like compassion, empathy, self-reflection, and emotional regulation. However, empathy and compassion are the most powerful repellents to loneliness, finding a show.

The key point of this research is its demographic vastness. The authors enrolled older adults from two very different areas:

  • San Diego, USA, a big city with a population counting over 1.4 million people. The median age of San Diego’s citizens, around 36 years.
  • Cilento, a small rural region in southwestern Italy, has a high concentration of people over the age of 90.

Researchers studied two age groups: between the ages of 50-65 and those over 90.

In all groups, the inverse correlation between loneliness and wisdom was very consistent. Participants who scored higher on a measure of wisdom were less lonely and vice versa.

“If we can increase someone’s compassion, wisdom is likely to go up and loneliness is likely to go down,” said David Brenner, MD. “At UC San Diego, we have considerable interest in enhancing empathy and compassion to reduce levels of stress and improve happiness and well-being.”


From San Diego to Italy, study suggests wisdom can protect against loneliness