A first issue to be addressed concerns the nature of loneliness. Researchers and theorists have made a distinction between loneliness and social isolation. Studies have indicated that some individuals may have large social networks and be involved in frequent social activities yet report being lonely. By contrast, other individuals may be socially isolated but not report feeling lonely. Loneliness appears to result from being dissatisfied with important aspects of relationships with others, such as the quality of the relationships or the lack of a particular type of relationship. Clearly, research needs to move beyond simply examining relationships between loneliness and the size of social networks or the frequency of social contacts.
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