• Alexandra Christa Hedeby Sørensen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
Abstract In this thesis I am giving a perspective on loneliness among young people in the age group of 16-29, living in the region of the capital of Denmark, called region Hovedstaden. My interest in the loneliness area comes from working with young people through jobs, being an educated social worker. My experience is that youngsters have issues about themselves, when it comes to how they see themselves when they look at other young people. Many of them see themselves as not being good enough to be accepted as they are, among others and many of them don’t talk to others about how they feel and who they are. My theory is, that they remain strangers to others and in that sense become lonely. In a scientific research on loneliness in Denmark in 2015, it showed that 5% of the Danish population feel lonely. Among those, it is young people between 16 and 29 that feels most lonely, with 6,4% (Lasgaard & Friis 2015:11). International research on loneliness indicates, that long term loneliness has consequences for people's well-being and health and that there is a connection between loneliness and a long list of diseases and social challenges such as depression, anxiety disorders, crime, suicide attempts, eating disorders, high blood pressure and cholesterol, alcohol problems, fatigue with more (Lasgaard 2010:11-12 and Svendsen 2017:30-31). In a sociological study it has also been shown that lack of social networks or people with few friendships dies earlier than people who have a spouse and people who have regular contact with close friends (Berkman & Syme 1979 in Christensen 2016). Because of the amount of young people who feel lonely and because of these serious social problems connected to loneliness, I want to examine loneliness between young people further. Loneliness is a subjective feeling and there is no clear definition on loneliness (Lasgaard 2010). Loneliness is still a very new area being investigated in Denmark and many of the Danish projects, working on resisting loneliness, have the focus that people feel lonely because they lack a network. A Norwegian philosopher Lars Fr. H. Svendsen says that loneliness is not just connected with being alone, because he has found out that people with big networks feel lonely too. Svendsen claims that people feel lonely because of their social perceptions on themselves and their network. I find this theory interesting, because it differs from other theories. I am investigating the following question in this thesis: How can lonely young people’s perspective on themselves and their loneliness, contribute to an understanding of the concept of loneliness. The investigation is based on empirical data from five phenomenological individual interviews with lonely young people within the ages 17-29, all living in region Hovedstaden. The young people have been found in a Facebook group for lonely people, which is called ”Smilet region hovedstaden. Roughly and without all the details, the findings are that some of the young people feel lonely, even when they have friends and are among others, and some of them feel lonely because they feel that they lack a network. They all mirror themselves in other young people and the mirror they look in, is a set of norms they create on how you should be and look like, to be accepted in terms of being young and a part of the community. The norms they create are often based on what they see on the internet and it is often distorted pictures of youngsters running for perfection and changing their pictures before posting them (Berlingske.dk og boredpanda.com). Or youngsters only exposing their lives, in a positive and glamorous way, so it looks perfect. In that mirror, almost all the lonely young people, in this thesis, see themselves as not being good enough and they have many other thoughts and feelings about that, that can be related to feeling ashamed of themselves. The lonely young people just accept the mirror they see and have created, which makes them passive and discouraged. Some of them also feel awkward when they try to contact and communicate with others and they don’t really have success with that. There is also a stigma and taboo related to being lonely (Lau & Gruen 1992) and because of that and that the lonely young people possibly feel ashamed of who they are, it is influenced on how the young people position themselves in the community. Which also can be connected to why they feel lonely.
Publication dateJun 2018
Number of pages70
ID: 280199166