Loneliness Nisha Parikh

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Loneliness Nisha Parikh

  1. 1. CERTIFICATE This is to certify that this project is a bona-fide work done by Nisha Parikh (040414), a student of B.A final year (2006-2007) under my supervision in St. Francis Degree College for Women (Autonomous) Hyderabad. Date Signature of the external examiner Signature of the HOD (Sr.ChristineFernandes) Dept. of Psychology
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS S.No. Description Pg.No. 1 Introduction 2 Review of literature 3 Methodology 4 Results and Discussion 5 Conclusion Bibliography Appendices
  3. 3. LONELINESS Loneliness has been defined as quot;a sense of isolation that persists over timequot; (Perse and Rubin 1990, p. 37). Lonely persons tend to be deficient in communication skills (Spitzberg and Canary 1985). In turn, these deficiencies isolate people from the very social activities that might reduce loneliness (Perse and Rubin 1990). Loneliness is an emotional state in which a person experiences a powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation. Loneliness is more than just the feeling of wanting company or wanting to do something with another person. Loneliness is a feeling of being cut off, disconnected, and/or alienated from other people, so that it feels difficult or even impossible to have any form of meaningful human contact. Lonely people often feel empty or hollow inside. Feelings of separation or isolation from the world are common amongst those that are lonely. The first record of the word quot;lonelyquot; being used was in a play by William Shakespeare. Loneliness should not be equated with being alone. Everyone has times when they are alone for situational reasons, or because they have chosen to be alone. Being alone can be experienced as positive, pleasurable, and emotionally refreshing if it is under the individual's control. Solitude is the state of being alone and secluded from other people, and often implies having made a conscious choice to be alone Loneliness is one of the main indicators of social well-being. It reflects an individual’s subjective evaluation of his or her social participation or isolation. Perlman and Peplau (1981) formulated loneliness as “the unpleasant experience that occurs when a person’s network of social relationships is deficient in some important way, either quantitatively or qualitatively” Loneliness is a situation that occurs from a lack of quality relationships. This includes “situations in which a number of existing relationships is smaller than is considered desirable or admissible, as well as situations where the intimacy one wishes has not been realized” – De Jong Gierveld (1987). In both definitions,
  4. 4. loneliness is considered to be an expression of negative feelings of missing relationships and occurs in individuals of all ages. Loneliness is one of the possible outcomes of the evaluation of a situation in which an individual has a small number of relationships. However, many determinants work together in explaining why some people with small number of social contacts consider themselves lonely whereas others feel good and sufficiently embedded. Among these determinants is the presence or absence of an intimate partner. Two components of loneliness can be distinguished. Weiss (1973) differentiated between emotional loneliness, stemming from the absence of an intimate relationship or a close emotional attachment (e.g., a partner or a best friend), and social loneliness, stemming from the absence of a broader group of contacts or an engaging social network (e.g. friends colleagues, and people in the neighborhood.) Emotional loneliness arises, for example, when a partner relationship dissolves through widowhood or divorce and is characterized by intense feelings of emptiness, abandonment, and forlornness. Young people who have moved to places where they are newcomers frequently report social loneliness. Loneliness is therefore unwilling solitude. Lonely people who are middle-aged and older tend to also have problems with alcoholism, depression, weak immune system responses to illness, impaired sleep and suicide. Loneliness may partly be a genetic legacy, scientists report in Behavior Genetics. Psychoanalytic and post-Freudian authors attributed loneliness to a variety of sources including infantile narcissism and hostility (Zilboorg, 1938), unmet childhood needs for intimacy (Fromm-Reichman, 1959; Sullivan, 1953), and the lack of early attachment figures (Bowlby, 1977; Weiss, 1973). Existentialists displayed equal etiological diversity, seeing it as a normal experience for achieving deeper self-awareness (Mijuskovic, 1977), a pathological consequence
  5. 5. of not acknowledging one's feelings (Rogers, 1970), and a manifestation of anxiety that deepens self-rejection (Moustakas, 1961). More recently, cognitive theorists have suggested that loneliness evolves from a discrepancy between desired and achieved relationships (Peplau, Micheli, & Morasch, 1982; Perlman & Peplau, 1982), a constellation of negative, internal, and stable self-attributions about relationship deficiencies (Anderson & Arnoult, 1985; Schultz, & Moore, 1986; Snodgrass, 1987), and irrational beliefs about control of one's life (Brings, 1986; Hoglund & Collison, 1987). Finally, behaviorists have argued that loneliness derives from deficiencies in skills that are critical for developing appropriate intimate and social relationships (de Jong-Gierveld, 1987; Jones, Hobbs, & Hockenbury, 1982). The Types of Loneliness Loneliness: a feeling, usually sad and sometimes devastating, that one needs more companionship than one is currently getting. William Sadler (July, 1975), in Science Digest, describes five quot;causes of lonelinessquot;: 1. Interpersonal Loneliness You miss somebody who was once close to you. This type of loneliness is closely associated with grief. You're always on the lookout for a new loved one. But, if you find a new potential partner before you heal, you're so afraid of more rejection or desertion that you watch him or her like a hawk. 2. Social Loneliness quot;The individual feels cut off from a group that he or she feels is important . . . ostracism, exile. . .quot; This type of loneliness is often imposed on minority groups. Defined more accurately, social loneliness is what you feel when you are
  6. 6. unwillingly cut off from a social group that IS very important for your survival or well-being, and there's nothing you can do about it right now. 3. Culture Shock The loneliness that happens when you move to a whole new culture. This probably includes social loneliness, since most cultures reject foreigners at least somewhat. 4. Cosmic Loneliness Everybody feels cosmic loneliness sometimes. It's also known as quot;existential loneliness,quot; the sense that it's not possible to achieve perfect, complete intimacy with another person. It's this type of loneliness that turns our attention to a higher power. 5. Psychological Loneliness This is the loneliness that comes from the depths of our being, either from our chemical makeup or from our reactions to past traumas. In Loneliness, Robert Weiss (1975) writes that loneliness is NOT the same as depression. Lonely people fear that they will always be lonely; depressed people are sure of it. The lonely feel sad and discouraged; the depressed have numbed out and just don't care any more. The lonely cry a lot; the depressed are quot;cried out.quot; Most important, loneliness can, potentially at least, drive people to go out and find friends; depression is more likely to tempt people to give up and just sleep all day. Male Loneliness In recent years, social psychologists have expressed concern about the friendless male. Many studies have concluded that women have better relational skills which help them to be more successful at making and keeping friends. Women, for example, are more likely than men to express their emotions and display empathy and compassion in response to the emotions of others. Men, on the other hand, are
  7. 7. frequently more isolated and competitive and therefore have fewer (if any) close friends. Men, in fact, may not even be conscious of their loneliness and isolation. David Smith lists in his book Men Without Friends the following six characteristics of men which prove to be barriers to friendship. First, men show an aversion to showing emotions. Expressing feelings is generally taboo for males. At a young age, boys receive the cultural message that they are to be strong and stoic. As men, they shun emotions. Such an aversion makes deep relationships difficult, thus men find it difficult to make and keep friendships. Second, men seemingly have an inherent inability to fellowship. In fact, men find it hard to accept the fact that they need fellowship. If someone suggests lunch, it is often followed by the response, quot;Sure, what's up?quot; Men may get together for business, sports, or recreation (hunting and fishing), but they rarely do so just to enjoy each other's company. Centering a meeting on an activity is not bad; it is just that the conversation often never moves beyond work or sports to deeper levels. Third, men have inadequate role models. The male macho image prevents strong friendships since a mask of aggressiveness and strength keeps men from knowing themselves and others. A fourth barrier is male competition. Men are inordinately competitive. Men feel they must excel in what they do. Yet this competitive spirit is frequently a barrier to friendship. Fifth is an inability to ask for help. Men rarely ask for help because they perceive it as a sign of weakness. Others simply don't want to burden their family or colleagues with their problems. In the end, male attempts at self-sufficiency rob them of fulfilling relationships. A final barrier is incorrect priorities. Men often have a distorted order of priorities in which physical things are more important than relationships. Success and status is determined by material wealth rather than by the number of close friends. H.
  8. 8. Norman Wright warns: The more a man centers his identity in just one phase of his life--such as vocation, family, or career--the more vulnerable he is to threats against his identity and the more prone he is to experience a personal crisis. A man who has limited sources of identity is potentially the most fragile. Men need to broaden their basis for identity. They need to see themselves in several roles rather than just a teacher, just a salesman, just a handsome, strong male, just a husband. Men tend to limit their friendships and thus their own identity. CAUSES People can experience loneliness for many reasons, and many life events are related to loneliness. The first experience of loneliness for most people is the first time they are left to themselves as a baby. Loneliness is a very common response to divorce or the breakup/loss of any important long-term relationship. In these cases it may stem both from the loss of a specific person, as well as from the withdrawal from social circles caused by the event or the associated sadness. Loneliness can be a response to a specific situation or event, such as the death or extended absence of a loved one. Loneliness may also occur after the birth of a child, after marriage or after any minor or major life event. Loneliness can occur in marriages or similar close relationships where there is anger/resentment or a lack of quot;lovingquot; communication. Learning to cope with these changes in life patterns is essential in overcoming loneliness. Loneliness can also result from low self-esteem, especially if this causes the affected person to shun social gatherings. Paradoxically, loneliness frequently occurs in heavily populated cities; in these cities many people feel utterly alone and cut off, even when surrounded by thousands or even millions of other people. It is however unclear whether loneliness is thus a condition aggravated by high population density itself, or
  9. 9. simply part of the human condition. Certainly, the feeling is well-known even in societies with much smaller populations. However, the randomness and sheer number of people that one comes into contact with daily in a city (even if only briefly), may raise barriers to actually interacting more deeply with them, thus increasing the feeling of being cut off and alone. Some say that loneliness has become a major problem of modern times. At the beginning of the last century families were typically larger, and very few people lived alone. Today however, the trend has reversed direction: over a quarter of the U.S. population lived alone in 1998. In 1995, 24 million Americans lived in single-person households; by 2010, it is estimated that number will have increased to around 31 million. Physical separation also often weakens familial bonds. Nowadays, it is not at all unusual for family members to be separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles. Effects of Loneliness Chronic loneliness (as opposed to the normal loneliness everyone feels from time to time) is a serious, life-threatening condition. It is associated with an increased risk of death from cancer as well as stroke and cardiovascular disease. People who are socially isolated also report poor sleep quality and thus have diminished restorative processes. Loneliness is also linked with depression, a risk factor for suicide. Loneliness can play a part in alcoholism, and in children a lack of social connections is directly linked to several forms of antisocial and self-destructive behavior, most notably hostile and delinquent behavior. In both children and adults, loneliness often has a negative impact on learning and memory. Its effect
  10. 10. on sleep patterns can have a devastating effect on the ability to function in everyday life. Some other effects may not be symptomatic for years. In 2005, results from the U.S. Framingham Heart Study demonstrated that lonely men had raised levels of IL-6, a blood chemical linked to heart disease. A 2006 study conducted by the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago found loneliness can add 30 points to a blood pressure reading for adults over the age of 50. Another remarkable finding, from a survey conducted by John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, is that doctors say they provide better medical care to patients who have a strong network of family and friends than they do to patients who are alone. Enforced loneliness (solitary confinement) has been a punishment method throughout history. It is often considered a form of torture. Underlying Factors Related to Loneliness Widowhood It is generally accepted that loneliness is more prevalent among those who are widowed. Lopata found that loneliness was one of the major problems of American widows, and Korpeckyj-Cox found that the widowed reported higher levels of loneliness than married individuals, regardless of gender or presence of adult children. Other studies have indicated that those individuals who had recently experienced the death of a spouse had the highest levels of loneliness and those who lived with a partner, husband or wife expressed the lowest levels of loneliness. Divorced individuals living alone have also been found to be more lonely than those who were married and living with a spouse. In addition, Woodward and Queen found
  11. 11. that loneliness following widowhood was intensified by the length of the marriage, with those married 50 or more years being the most likely to experience loneliness following the death of their spouse. The length of widowhood also appears to be a factor, as those widowed for five or fewer years were found to be lonelier than those widowed for more than five years. Living Arrangements Regardless of the influence of widowhood, older people who live with a partner or spouse are generally less lonely than those who live alone.4 Those who are without a spouse but who live with or near their children have been found to experience greater well-being and lower levels of loneliness in some studies, but other studies found no connection between interaction with children and the experience of loneliness.14 In fact, Holmen and colleagues found that those living with their children experienced the highest levels of loneliness, followed by those residing with a brother or sister. Hicks feel the experience of living in a nursing home is relevant to the experience of social isolation and loneliness among older people. In this study, the lack of intimate relationships, increased dependency, and loss (i.e., friends, home, previous lifestyle, independence and self-identity) were all found to increase the level of loneliness experienced among older people in nursing homes. The author concluded that such factors lead to declining health, increased social isolation, and feelings of sadness and hopelessness. On the other hand, Andersson also found that older Swedish people who were socially isolated, who expressed higher levels of loneliness, and who were experiencing declining health were more likely to move to nursing homes or seniors' residences. This finding was confirmed by Russell and Cutrona in 1997, who found that higher levels of loneliness among rural Americans increased the
  12. 12. likelihood of admission to nursing homes, regardless of age and physical or mental health status. These researchers suggest that moves to nursing homes may be sought as a means to enhance social participation and thereby delay further declines in health. It remains unclear, however, whether moves to nursing homes are beneficial or detrimental regarding isolation and loneliness. For example, Hall and Havens found there was a public perception that nursing homes may indeed be an isolating environment due to the limited, rather than expanded, opportunity for meaningful social interaction with others. While there may be lots of people in the immediate environment, many residents may be virtually immobile in their own rooms or lack opportunities for satisfying interactions with others. It was also suggested that family and friends may be less likely to visit a nursing home if they feel the environment is unwelcome, or when communication is difficult because of hearing, speech or cognition problems. Gender Most researchers have found that women are more likely than men to express loneliness, but some research has found no link between gender and loneliness. Hall and Havens found gender to be a significant predictor of social isolation, but not of loneliness. Women were found to be especially disadvantaged because they are more likely to be widowed and to live alone. Women's advantage over men in life expectancy means that they are more likely to outlive their spouse, other relatives and friends, to live alone, and to experience chronic health problems which limit social interaction. However, men may have a harder time coping with the loss of their spouse, as it has been suggested they are often less prepared than women for such an event and are less likely to confide in others regarding their grief. Women often have a larger
  13. 13. social support system than men and more close confidants to help with emotional stresses, including the grief experienced after the loss of a spouse. Typically, men have fewer intimate contacts than women, and have less contact with children, grandchildren and other extended family members. MIDDLE AGE When reaching a chronological age of forty, it is believed that an individual has reached middle age or middle adulthood Many things change during this stage of life Among the most common changes, the most noticeable are the physical changes; and these vary from individual to individual Physical changes in middle aged adults are: baldness, weight changes, mostly gaining, loss of bone mass, also known as osteoporosis, gray hair and the most noticeable among men and women, wrinkles. Every individual should be well prepared physically and psychologically for middle adulthood First of all, the human body is not as responsive anymore Metabolism is not as fast as before, it slows down tremendously causing a yo-yo effect in weight Most of the changes have to do with gaining weight and not being able to lose it It is important to note that not only metabolism slows down, but there also other physical changes involved with reaching middle adulthood that can be very harmful One of these problems is osteoporosis, which simply means the weakening of the bone structure of the body The loss of bone mass can be very dangerous The foundation frame of the body can lose strength making simple tasks more difficult A person with advanced osteoporosis may have problems reaching objects form the floor Moreover, if a person with osteoporosis breaks a bone, for him or her is more difficult recuperate than for a person who has taken care of his or her bones.
  14. 14. Middle-age crisis also come into play at this stage People start experiencing more stress caused by the many different situations that involve important decisions Also the physical changes people go through put much pressure in their lives Stress can be very damaging to the body causing heart decease, irregularities with many vital organs, among other noticeable and harmful problems to the health of the individual experiencing stress. Middle-age problems are termed as mid-life crisis and middle age blues. Mid-life crisis has traditionally been studied and defined in terms of men's experiences and is sometimes generalized to women as well as it is defined for women in relation to the physiological experience of menopause. But mid-life crisis is experienced differently by women not only in relation to menopause and not entirely within the same framework as men. There are many physical and emotional symptoms that appear during menopausal period due to changes in the imbalance of internal hormonal milieu and are self-limiting. Symptoms vary from woman to woman. During 40–60 years of age, physical changes clearly appear like graying heir, eyesight weak, fat gain, skin dryness, lack of strength etc. In this period social changes also take place. Changes in family set-up and responsibility often more negative than positive, directly affect the psychosocial status of women. A study on working women, family environment and mental health indicated that there were significant differences in the family environment and mental health of working and non-working women. Problems of elderly women are often more discussed than problems of middle aged women. However, the problems whether it is physical, social or psychological took birth in middle age which may emerge in old age. Essential care and some preventive steps if not taken in middle age may result in serious problems with the onset of old age. The problems of working class middle-aged women like emotional, physical, familial, and social and work place environment etc., which may affect their overall health status.
  15. 15. Middle age is a non-specific stage in life when a person is neither young nor old, but somewhere in between. Various attempts have been made to define the range and these tend towards the third quarter of the average life span of human beings. According to Collins Dictionary, this is quot;... usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 40 and 60quot;, The OED gives a similar definition but with a later start point quot;... the period between youth and old age, about 45 to 60.quot; Whilst Erik Erikson sees it ending a little later and defines middle adulthood as between 40 and 65. Thus, in the western world, middle age is somewhere between 40 and 65. In many Western societies this is seen to be the period of life in which a person is expected to have settled down in terms of their sense of identity and place in the world, be raising a family (if their lifestyle includes this pursuit), and have established career stability. It is also a period often associated with the potential onset of mid-life crises. Most women go through the menopause during middle age. There is often claimed to be considerable prejudice against older people in employment and in the media. This is based on the claim that, given a choice between an old person and young person (often with less ability), the young person will disproportionately often be chosen by an employer. The media focus much less on older people because younger people are influenced more easily, and will most likely remain influenced for the rest of their lives, for instance choosing brands they are familiar with. Some people are challenging the concept that middle age is something to dread. They assert that with the right attitude and careful planning, middle age can be truly a person's best years. Development during adulthood was ignored by Freudian analysts for decades. It was assumed that adult functioning was a static period that followed the dynamic
  16. 16. period of adolescence. There are two major groups of theories regarding adult development. The first group describes psychological development as a process that proceeds in stages. It is an extension of the life-cycle. These theories are called stage demand process theories. The second group of theories describes development as a process that proceeds in response to situations or specific stressors. This second group of theories is called situation demand process theories. In reality the best explanation for psychological development during adulthood is a combination of both groups of theories. Age related stress and the accompanying physiologic changes that occur during adulthood produce major effects on the health of middle aged. Stage demand process theories Several theoreticians have described major life-cycle /stage theories of adult development. The best known is that of Erik Erikson. Erikson's theory revolves around the concept of periods of crisis in which age and stage specific internal conflicts occur. Erikson suggested the crisis for middle age could be described as a conflict between generativity and stagnation. In short this describes the conflict between the drive to generate and the tendency to stagnate during middle age. For many persons middle age is the time during which you reach your peak professionally. Either you have realized that your goals of youth are not yet attainable, or you have reached them. The result can be similar. The typical responses to the crisis of middle age are either self absorption or involvement with the next generation. Involvement with the next generation is seen as an attempt to leave a part of yourself for society. As such it is not necessarily procreative. The self absorption is often a response to the realization that your time is finite. A pressure to change occurs. This may result in a change in the guiding question of quot;what would my parents have me do?quot; to quot;what do I want to do?quot;. It is a continuation of the separation-individuation process that began during childhood.
  17. 17. In some ways this time is similar to adolescence. This has lead to the characterization of middle age as a second adolescence. At times the pressure to change can be quite intense with the result of what has been termed the mid-life crisis. Clearly this time has several physiological as well as psychosocial changes. The ability to adequately confront the crisis and stress of middle age is determined by the coping resources that were developed during earlier developmental struggles. As such simplistic explanations of behavior during this period are inadequate. The stage demand process theories suggest that the stressors are intrinsic to the specific life-cycle stage. In reality it should be remembered that the middle aged adults of the 1950's and 1960's had similar situational demands. This cohort went through the great depression, WW II, Korean war, Vietnam era, and the generational shift of the 60's. The fact that these people had similar responses to middle age could be due to a cohort effect and not a product of a specific life stage. Other than Erikson there are two major contributors to life cycle theories of middle age. Levinson and Gould developed theories that were probably remnants of their psychoanalytic training. Levinson emphasized that there were transitional periods that were separated by relatively stable periods of psychological functioning. The transitional periods yield to periods of stability following a consolidation of achievements internally and externally. Gould described a somewhat similar model but framed it in terms of the change between childhood and adulthood fantasies. During middle age Gould describes the progressive concerns with one's health, loss of loved ones and personal status, and ultimately death. In his model these concerns confronted childhood fantasies of safety and ultimate justice. Successful transition in Gould's model requires the development of internal controls based on an accurate assessment of reality and not childhood
  18. 18. fantasies. A common criticism of these models is the degree of 'psycho-babble' used to describe common events. Generally, these theorists have said basically that there are characteristic stressors throughout adult life that challenge us to adapt. Successful adaptation increases your abilities and prepares you for the next stressor. Situational demand process theories Two theorists identified specific stressors as fundamentally important in middle age. Benedek studied the successful and unsuccessful adaptation of women to middle age. She identified menopause as a fundamental stressor. The way a woman handled menopause determined her middle age adjustment. Benedek identified two basic ways in which women adjusted. For some women, menopause resulted in a sense of a loss of femininity and loss of self esteem while in others it resulted in a greater sense of freedom and sexual expression that was accompanied by a greater drive towards generativity. The role of the physiologic changes has not been adequately studied. The other specific stressor seen as fundamental to middle age development is the realization of death as imminent. The realization of a finite amount of time left usually appears as the person has to deal with the loss of friends and family and personal health. Jacques described the increased awareness of death and it's impact on a person as a mid-life crisis. Successful adaptation is a mellowing and change in personality that is accompanied by increased decisiveness in decision making. Such as with retirement planning etc. Attempts to deny the inevitability of death or being overwhelmed by the futility of life are seen as unsuccessful adaptations to the mid-life crisis.
  19. 19. Psychosocial Stage 6 - Intimacy vs. Isolation This stage covers the period of early adulthood when people are exploring • personal relationships. Erikson believed it was vital that people develop close, committed • relationships with other people. Those who are successful at this step will develop relationships that are committed and secure. Remember that each step builds on skills learned in previous steps. Erikson • believed that a strong sense of personal identity was important to developing intimate relationships. Studies have demonstrated that those with a poor sense of self tend to have less committed relationships and are more likely to suffer emotional isolation, loneliness, and depression. Stagnation During adulthood, we continue to build our lives, focusing on our career • and family. Those who are successful during this phase will feel that they are • contributing to the world by being active in their home and community. Those who fail to attain this skill will feel unproductive and uninvolved in the world. Psychosocial Stage 8 - Integrity vs. Despair This phase occurs during old age and is focused on reflecting back on life. • Those who are unsuccessful during this phase will feel that their life has • been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair.
  20. 20. Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of • integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death. A mid-life crisis is an emotional state of doubt and anxiety in which a person becomes uncomfortable with the realization that life is halfway over. It commonly involves reflection on what the individual has done with his or her life up to that point, often with feelings that not enough was accomplished. The individuals experiencing such may feel boredom with their lives, jobs, or their partners, and may feel a strong desire to make changes in these areas. The condition is also called the beginning of individuation, a process of self-actualization that continues on to death. The condition is most common ranging from the ages of 35-50, and affects men and women differently. Mid life crisis last about 3-10 years in men and 2-5 years in women, but length may vary in some people. During middle age, many changing factors can affect personality development. These factors include: work/career • marriage/spousal relationships • adult children • aging parents/death of parents • physical changes associated with aging • There is some question whether a quot;mid-life crisisquot; is any different from quot;a crisis occurring in mid-life.quot; One study found that only 23% of participants had what they called a quot;mid-life crisis,quot; but in digging deeper, only 8% of the total said the crisis was associated with realizations about aging. The balance (15%) had major
  21. 21. life experiences or transitions (divorce, loss of a job, etc.) in middle age, but they could have happened at any other stage of life. SELF CONCEALMENT Psychological research shows that keeping secrets, especially distressing ones, can make the secret keeper sick. But we do not know if keeping a secret per se causes more illness symptoms or if it is something about the type of person who is secretive that tends to make them sicker. For a century, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other clinicians have noted that patients often hold back important information from their therapist. This is so even if they want to get better and they know the therapist wants them to get better too. This is called quot;self-concealmentquot;. The quot;self-concealerquot; keeps secrets that are perhaps too painful to recall, too stressful to reveal, or even too frightening to describe. In On the Beginning of Treatment (1913), Sigmund Freud described the physical and psychological consequences of patients concealing information from the analyst. It is now known that patients quot;self-concealquot; in both long-term and short term therapeutic situations. And they keep both large secrets as well as small ones. Secrets seem to be of all kinds too. Judging from what patients do, more people are quot;self-concealersquot; than not. This particular problem is part of a larger topic, namely the importance of concealment as a condition of civilization. Concealment includes not only secrecy and deception, but also reticence and non acknowledgment. There is much more going on inside us all the time than we are willing to express, and civilization would be impossible if we could all read each other's minds. Apart from everything else there is the sheer chaotic tropical luxuriance of the inner life. To quote Simmel: quot;All we communicate to another individual by means of words or perhaps in another fashion -- even the most subjective, impulsive, intimate matters
  22. 22. -- is a selection from that psychological-real whole whose absolutely exact report (absolutely exact in terms of content and sequence) would drive everybody into the insane asylum.quot; As children we have to learn gradually not only to express what we feel but to keep many thoughts and feelings to ourselves, in order to maintain relations with other people on an even keel. We also have to learn, especially in adolescence, not to be overwhelmed by a consciousness of other people's awareness of and reaction to ourselves -- so that our inner lives can be carried on under the protection of an exposed public self over which we have enough control to be able to identify with it, at least in part Kelly and Achter (1995) investigated the relationship between a newly recognized psychological construct, Self-Concealment, and a person’s actual and perceived likelihood of seeking professional psychological help. Borrowing from Larson and Chastain (1990), Kelly and Achter conceptualized Self-Concealment as a predisposition to hide distressing and potentially embarrassing personal information. Understanding the construct of self-concealment is highly relevant for counselors, because the focus of psychotherapy often involves the client’s revelation of his/her most intimate and disturbing experiences. Self-concealment is also important because not sharing intimate distressing information has been found to hinder psychological adjustment, physical health and healing processes e.g. (Berger and Kelly 1986; N.S.Evans 1976; Ichiyama et al. 1993; McCartney, 1995; Pennebaker & Susman, 1988). For e.g. keeping intimate information secret has been associated with more interpersonal conflicts (Straits-Troster et al, 1994), greater depression, (S. Evans and Katona, 1995), and inferior recovery from severe psychological trauma, (Harvey, Stein, Olsen and Roberts, 1995; Orbuch, Harvey, Davis, & Merbach, 1994). Kelly and Achter (1995) found that high levels of self-concealment predicted negative thoughts towards psychotherapy but that both positive attitudes towards psychotherapy and high levels of self-concealment were predictive of greater
  23. 23. perceived likelihood of seeking counseling. Moreover high self-concealers were over 50% more likely to have seen a counselor than were low self-concealers. They also reported that neither distress nor social support was a significant predictor of perceived likelihood of seeking help (cf. Barker, Pistrang, Shapiro, and Shaw 1990; Cunningham, Sobell, Sobell, & Gaskin, 1994; Deane & Chamberlain, & Braithwaite, 1994; Ying, 1990). Kelly and Achter (1995) explained that high self-concealers “represent an enigmatic group of individuals: they are more likely to seek counseling but less likely to view the counseling process favorably than are low-concealers. These authors hypothesized that the self-concealers’ less favorable attitudes towards psychotherapy were a reflection of their fear of having to reveal intimacies to a therapist. Kelly and Achter speculated that although high self-concealers were more fearful of psychotherapy, they were more likely to seek professional help because they lacked access to help from social support networks. Small lies are a big part of our lives. We tell them for convenience and comfort, to smooth things over for others as much as for ourselves. “It is alright with me,” we say when its not. “I’ll call you,” we insist when we won’t. And perhaps the most pervasive prevarication of all, we say we’re “fine” when we aren’t. “The most common lies are told to avoid conflicts,” says a psychotherapist Susan Campbell, Ph.D., author of Saying what’s real: seven keys to authentic communication and Relationship success. “People want harmony. But this compulsive quest for harmony gets in the way of true harmony.” To admit the truth to oneself and speak it out to others can be difficult. But the reward far outweighs the risks. “The most important thing that you can do for your own personal growth is to be honest with yourself.” Says life coach Harriette Cole, author of Choosing Truth: living an authentic life. Living truthfully is an avenue to self-healing says Campbell. It’s a crucial tool to help people face old fears of rejection and abandonment and wounds that they may have acquired in childhood. “Being honest helps you stop avoiding emotional pain so you’re more able to be
  24. 24. with what is,” she says. “Getting real is an inner practice for bringing you into the moment.” The result can be a clearing away of psychological clutter, greater freedom from fear, and a kind of clarity that leads to a stronger sense of well- being. Research on the benefits of disclosing versus suppressing feelings suggests that doing the former can reduce your susceptibility to illness. James. W. Pennebaker, a PhD, a professor of Psychology at the university of Texas and an author of Writing to Heal: a guided journal for recovering from trauma and emotional upheaval, has conducted numerous clinical studies on the psychological and physiological effects of talking and writing about emotional experiences. His conclusion, “emotional expression may have important links with the functioning of the immune system.” Dale Larson, PhD, a professor of Psychology at a university in California, developed a self-concealment scale that is widely used in the helping professions. “We have found that self-concealment is associated with more physical symptoms and higher levels of depression and anxiety” he says. Apparently both body and mind have to work extra hard to lie and keep secrets.
  25. 25. Review of literature. Women face different problems at different age group. Gender differences led women to bear dual role responsibility, which starts affecting health status in middle age with the onset of physical decline. Working women's problems are of three types viz., environmental, social and psychological. In each of them the problems emerge due to the stained situations at home and work place. In turn they are due to two factors, one is the inner conflict due to dual commitment and concern, and the other is the practical difficulty of combing the dual commitment. The aim of the present work was to assess the psychosocial and family status of middle aged (45-55 yrs) women working as school teacher. Total number of subjects selected for study was 50 (n=50). An interview schedule and Psycho Social Stress Scale questionnaire were simultaneously administered to the selected subjects. Results indicate that women's psychosocial health status may likely to get affected during middle age due to psychological changes occurring in this phase primarily because of biological changes and changes in the familial environment. Programmed interventions like, meditation, relaxation and other sensitization programs, aiming at lifestyle changes will change their attitudes, behaviors, cognitions, quality of life, thereby maintaining their overall status Department of Psychology, Iowa State University Ames 50011-3180, USA. In this article I evaluated the psychometric properties of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3). Using data from prior studies of college students, nurses, teachers, and the elderly, analyses of the reliability, validity, and factor structure of this new version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale were conducted. Results indicated that the measure was highly reliable, both in terms of internal consistency (coefficient alpha ranging from .89 to .94) and test-retest reliability over a 1-year
  26. 26. period (r = .73). Convergent validity for the scale was indicated by significant correlations with other measures of loneliness. Construct validity was supported by significant relations with measures of the adequacy of the individual's interpersonal relationships, and by correlations between loneliness and measures of health and well-being. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a model incorporating a global bipolar loneliness factor along with two method factor reflecting direction of item wording provided a very good fit to the data across samples. Implications of these results for future measurement research on loneliness are discussed. Social support and positive health practices in young adults. Loneliness as a mediating variable. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which loneliness mediates the relationship between perceived social support and positive health practices of young adults, ages 22 to 34, by testing a mediational model of relationships in a three-variable system developed through theory and previous research. Data were collected from 70 young adults who were attending classes in a large urban university. They responded to the PRQ85-Part II, the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale, the Lifestyle Questionnaire, and a demographic data sheet. Statistically significant correlations were found between perceived social support and positive health practices, perceived social support and loneliness, and loneliness and positive health practices. A series of regression analyses designed to test for mediation were performed. The results indicated that loneliness is a dominant mediator in the relationship between perceived social support and positive health practice. Implications for practices are discussed.
  27. 27. Methodology Objective: The researcher’s objective is to determine whether there is any gender differences among the middle aged (40-45 years) in the levels of Loneliness and Self- Concealment. Hypothesis: Research Instrument: The researcher used the questionnaire method and the questionnaires used are • Loneliness Questionnaire • Self- concealment scale, developed by Larson and Chastain (1990). This scale was designed to measures the extent to which people typically conceal or disclose personal information that they perceive as distressing and negative. Sample: For the purpose of the present study a sample of 45 was taken. a) 15 Working Women from the age group of 40-45 years. b) 15 House Wives from the age group of 40-45 years. c) 15 Working Men from the age group of 40-45 years. Variables Independent Variable- Gender i.e. Working Women, House wives, Working Men. Dependent Variable- Loneliness and Self-Concealment.
  28. 28. Data Collection: Procedure In order to obtain the data needed the researcher distributed the questionnaires in various apartments, met many acquaintances, and also gave a few questionnaires in various offices. The questionnaires were distributed to 15 working men, 15 working women, and 15 house wives. The researcher established a rapport with the subject and then gave them the following instructions regarding the questionnaires, • This questionnaire is purely for academic purpose. For each statement, decide whether it describes you or your situation or • not. If it does seem to describe you or your situation, mark it TRUE (T). If not, mark it FALSE (F). • Use a 5- point scale to indicate the extent to which you agree With each statement, with 1= strongly disagree and 5= strongly agree. For the second part of the questionnaire. • Work quickly and don’t spend too much time over any statement. We want your first reaction not a very drawn out thought process. • Please do not skip any questions. • If a particular question is not relevant to you, imagine yourself in that situation and answer the question. • There are no right or wrong answers as this is not a test of intelligence or ability but simply a measure of the way you act. • Mark your best possible answers honestly. All the Answers are strictly CONFIDENTIAL so please be as accurate • and truthful as possible.
  29. 29. After the clarification of all their doubts they were then asked to fill up the questionnaires. The 45 questionnaires wee later collected and then the scores were calculated using the scoring given. The results were then interpreted. Data Analysis: Scoring: Loneliness scale: Scoring on the scale is determined in the following way: For items with no asterisk next to the item number, each marking of T (TRUE) is given one point. For items with an asterisk, each marking of F (FALSE) is given one point. The scale measures loneliness in three types of relationships, namely friendships (Fr), relationships with family (Fam), and relationships with larger groups (Gr). Self-concealment scale: To calculate your score, simply add your answer values together. The higher the score, the more is the tendency to self-conceal. Statistics Used: The statistics used to compute the data are 1. Mean 2. Standard Deviation 3. t Ratio 4. Critical Ratio 5. Correlation
  30. 30. Results and discussion: Table I indicates the combined scores of loneliness and self-concealment among WORKING WOMEN and HOUSE WIVES WORKING WOMEN HOUSE WIVES LONELINESS SELF- LONELINESS SELF- CONCEALMENT CONCEALMENT 28 19 14 14 18 29 8 18 18 16 2 18 17 33 8 27 28 30 10 22 15 18 9 11 22 30 7 16 25 26 14 10 14 21 16 19 28 39 22 29 20 34 20 32 11 31 3 19 11 32 16 10 13 20 13 34 11 18 22 29 274 493 TOTAL 200 308 18.2 32.8 Mean 13.3 20.5 5.71 9.43 S.D 6.16 7.71 T-Ratio for Loneliness= 2.22(highly significant) T-Ratio for Self-Concealment=3.78(highly significant)
  31. 31. Table II indicates the combined scores of loneliness and self-concealment among WORKING WOMEN and WORKING MEN WORKING WOMEN WORKING MEN LONELINESS SELF- LONELINESS SELF- CONCEALMENT CONCEALMENT 14 14 4 18 8 18 6 20 2 18 3 10 8 27 13 12 10 22 6 24 9 11 3 10 7 16 12 15 14 10 14 18 16 19 10 19 22 29 14 25 20 32 5 23 3 19 9 27 16 10 4 25 13 34 7 17 22 29 22 19 TOTAL 200 308 132 302 Mean 13.3 20.5 8.8 20.5 S.D 6.16 7.71 5.006 5.85 T-Ratio for loneliness=2.14(highly significant) T-Ratio for Self-Concealment=0.14(not significant)
  32. 32. Discussion Objectives • The researcher’s objective is to determine whether there is any gender differences among the middle aged (40-45 years) in the levels of Loneliness and Self-Concealment. Interpretation of the tables: The researcher therefore

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