Social Isolation in a Population-Based Sample of Emerging Adults: Who Is on Their Own?

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Abstract

Purpose: This study aimed to identify the associations between social isolation, social contextual factors, and behavioral and psychological health during emerging adulthood. Methods: Participants (n = 1,568) were drawn from EAT 2018 (mean age = 22.1 ± 2.0). Logistic regressions tested the associations between social isolation, contextual factors, and behavioral and psychological health. Results: Approximately 16% of the sample reported social isolation. Emerging adults with socially marginalized identities (e.g., racial/ethnic, socioeconomic), who were unemployed, and/or lived alone had higher odds of experiencing social isolation. Social isolation was associated with more risky health behaviors and lower self-esteem. Discussion: Emerging adults who were socially disadvantaged (e.g., unemployed) had greater risk of social isolation. Findings suggest that social isolation is more strongly linked with behavioral health than psychological health. Generally, findings suggest that access to community resources and areas wherein social connections can be formed may to be important for behavioral health in emerging adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEmerging Adulthood
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research is supported by grant numbers R35HL139853 (PI: D. Neumark-Sztainer) and R01HL116892 (PI: D. Neumark-Sztainer) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Melissa Simone’s time is supported by T32MH082761 (PI: Scott Crow) from the National Institute of Mental Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, or the National Institutes of Health.

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01HL116892 and R35HL139853) and National Institute of Mental Health (T32MH082761).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publishing.

Keywords

  • disparities
  • emerging adults
  • interpersonal relationships
  • social isolation

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