The Personality Trait Linked To Loneliness

Feeling lonely is a part of
some people’s genetic makeup.
People who are neurotic have a
genetic tendency towards loneliness, new research finds.
Neuroticism is a personality
trait that indicates a tendency to experience stress and insecurity.
However, loneliness is not
just genetic, it is also a result of life circumstances.
In fact, the environment plays
a bigger part than genetics — which is good news, because that means it can
Lonely people do not have to
stay that way, whatever their genetic makeup.
Julie Aitken Schermer, the study’s first author, said:
“If you have rich interactions
with people, that’s an environmental component that would combat the genetic
impact of loneliness.”
The conclusions come from
research on 764 pairs of twins in Australia.
Twins enable researchers to
separate out the influence of genetics and the environment on a person.
All were asked about their
personality and any loneliness they experienced.
The results showed that people
who were neurotic reported feeling more lonely.
In contrast, those who were
high in extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness were less likely to
experience loneliness.
authors write:
“The results suggest common genetic
and unique environmental factors play a role in personality and loneliness.”
Schermer is worried about the spread of loneliness across society:
“It does concern be me because
we’re getting lonelier as a society.
We’re not having the same
richness of interaction.”

Schermer sees it in her students:
“They’re all looking at their
devices and not interacting with each other. I always tell my students, ‘Put
your stuff down and talk to each other. This is the key time to make friends –
they already have things in common.”
The study was published in the
Journal of Research in Personality (Schermer & Martin, 2019).
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.