The holidays are typically characterized as a time for joyous celebration with family and friends. But for many Americans, the reality of the holiday season could not be any more different. Over the last twenty-five years, the scientific community has grappled with the concept of loneliness, trying to quantify its presence in society in an effort to better understand the social phenomenon. The consensus seems to be relatively straight-forward: Americans have become increasingly lonely over time.
Dr. Jacqueline Olds, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and co-author, with her husband Richard Schwartz, of "The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-First Century," speaks about this phenomenon.