Also surprising: Young people with the highest rates of social media use reported very similar feelings of loneliness to those who barely use it, Still, Cordani says, “meaningful social interaction” was seen as key to reducing isolation so more face-to-face conversations are needed.

While some people may compensate by finding connections on social media, that can provide a false sense of relief, says Jagdish Khubchandani, a health science professor at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. This type of socialization often leads people to spend time alone on computers in their homes, leading them to gain weight and shun face-to-face interaction, he said.

“I have students who tell me they have 500 ‘friends,’ but when they’re in need, there’s no one,” Khubchandani says…

More than half of these 18- to 24-year-old members of Gen Z identified with 10 of the 11 feelings associated with loneliness, while more than 90% of people 72 and older reported feeling close to others, having people to turn to and talk to, and feeling “in tune with others.”