Laura Pulkki-Raback and her team from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health followed 3,500 working-aged men and women for seven years, comparing living arrangements with psychosocial, socio-demographic and health risk factors.
Pulkki-Raback explained: "Our study shows that people living alone have an increased risk of developing depression. Overall there was no difference in the increased risk of depression by living alone for either men or women."
This finding is to be expected, as many of our essential emotional needs ('human givens') are met by interacting with other people regularly.
Consider how many of these emotional needs are met by living with others:
Our fundamental emotional needs are:
- Security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
- Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition
- Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices
- Being emotionally connected to others
- Feeling part of a wider community
- Friendship, intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts 'n' all”
- Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
- Sense of status within social groupings
- Sense of competence and achievement (from which comes self-esteem)
- Meaning and purpose — which come from being stretched in what we do and think.
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