By Robert A. Vella
Loneliness and depression, although not synonymous, can be very debilitating emotional states. In America today, the problem is particularly evident as societal stresses and cultural polarization impose great burdens upon individuals. Each demographic group may be affected differently and to varying degrees such as older people struggling with rapid social changes, younger people experiencing financial hardship, single mothers burdened by responsibility, outcast males being isolated, minority groups being ostracized and discriminated against, etc. However, virtually everyone has or will experience loneliness and depression at some point in their lives.
The following test is focused on loneliness, not clinical depression. Take it if you are so inclined. Hopefully, the results might provide some helpful awareness or perspective.
From: UCLA Loneliness Scale
INSTRUCTIONS: Indicate how often each of the statements below is descriptive of you.
O indicates “I often feel this way”
S indicates “I sometimes feel this way”
R indicates “I rarely feel this way”
N indicates “I never feel this way”
1. I am unhappy doing so many things alone O S R N
2. I have nobody to talk to O S R N
3. I cannot tolerate being so alone O S R N
4. I lack companionship O S R N
5. I feel as if nobody really understands me O S R N
6. I find myself waiting for people to call or write O S R N
7. There is no one I can turn to O S R N
8. I am no longer close to anyone O S R N
9. My interests and ideas are not shared by those around me O S R N
10. I feel left out O S R N
11. I feel completely alone O S R N
12. I am unable to reach out and communicate with those around meO S R N
13. My social relationships are superficial O S R N
14. I feel starved for company O S R N
15. No one really knows me well O S R N
16. I feel isolated from others O S R N
17. I am unhappy being so withdrawn O S R N
18. It is difficult for me to make friends O S R N
19. I feel shut out and excluded by others O S R N
20. People are around me but not with me O S R N
Make all O’s = 3, all S’s = 2, all R’s = 1, and all N’s = 0. Keep scoring continuous.
Although the test does not provide a definitive assessment of individual scores, you can do so yourself with some degree of meaningful interpretation. The range of scoring is 0-60, where 0 represents the lowest level of loneliness and 60 the highest or most severe level of loneliness. For example, my score was 30 which I interpreted as having moderate, but not extreme, feelings of loneliness. For a more analytical assessment of the test, see: A Short Scale for Measuring Loneliness in Large Surveys.