Lonely? You’re not alone: Malta study finds over-35s becoming increasingly ‘moderately lonely’

The first national study on loneliness has found that over two-thirds of people are experiencing some degree of loneliness

Loneliness and solitude are some of the gravest social problems in Dingli, the study found
Loneliness and solitude are some of the gravest social problems in Dingli, the study found

Roughly a third of the Maltese population suffers from some degree of loneliness, the results of the first national study on the subject have shown.

42% of those aged between 35 and 54 said they were moderately lonely, with the proportion increasing to 55.3% among those aged 55 and over, with results showing, as expected, that loneliness becomes more prevelant as people get older. 

The study was carried out by the Faculty for Social Well-being, together with the National Statistics Office, and found that of the 1,000 people surveyed, 43.5% said they were either moderately (41.3%), severely (1.7%) or very severely lonely (0.7%).

A third of respondents said they felt some degree of emptiness. 15.2% said they felt a general sense of emptiness, while 17.9% felt that this was ‘more or less’ the case. One in five said they had no friends to call when in need.

Andrew Azzopardi, the faculty’s dean, described the results as worrying, and as presenting clear signs of loneliness increasing within Maltese society.

The research was carried out among people aged 11 and over, from all across Malta and Gozo and gauged both social loneliness – the absence of social contact – and emotional loneliness, where one might feel alone despite having a social network to interact with.

The vast majority of the respondents, 96.7% were born in Malta, with 41.8% have attained at least a post-secondary level of education. 94.2% of respondents said they did not live alone, with a majority saying they lived with other family members. 59.8% said they lived with a spouse or partner.

A majority of those who took part in the survey said they felt a moderately to very strong feeling of belonging in their own neighbourhood, with 21.1% saying they felt a ‘slightly strong’ feeling and 11.9% saying they did not feel they belonged.

89.2% said they felt positive about their life while some 20% said they did not feel that their income was enough for them to live. 

More in Health