My UCLA Loneliness Scale score
In the early days of writing Lonely, my agent said that I should take the UCLA Loneliness Scale every month or so, and see how my scores turned out. For those who have Lonely, the Scale is reproduced in the book’s introductory pages; for those who don’t have Lonely, the Scale is a test developed by the psychologist Dan Russell to assess how lonely someone might be. The test includes questions such as “How often do you feel starved for company?”, and a final score can range from 10 to 40, with a score of 25 or higher indicating real difficulty with loneliness.
I never followed up on my agent’s suggestion. I grew so familiar with the UCLA Loneliness Scale when writing Lonely that I effectively stopped seeing it. But, feeling lonely here in Newfoundland, I decided to sit down and take it once more. My score today was 30, which reflects, according to Russell, “a very high level of loneliness.”
A reader of Lonely once flamed me (is that what the cool kids say?) for writing a book about loneliness and still being lonely. He wanted, I guess, to hear about loneliness from someone who had totally mastered the state. I think there are some strategies you can bring to bear on loneliness (I’m going to post a lecture by a British researcher on this topic soon), but I’ll say in advance to anyone interested in Lonely that loneliness is still a problem in my life.
I could blog about this for pages and pages, but the very nature of blog posts means I’ll have to wrap this up shortly. I want to do more thinking about the persistence of loneliness in my life: I think it’s really complex and significant. And I’m going to follow my agent’s advice and take the UCLA Loneliness Scale every month, to see if I can spot ebbs and flows in my score. Readers of Lonely might want to do the same, to see whether their score remains static, or whether it dips and rises in response to life events. This won’t solve the problem of loneliness, but it will provide more information about a state that can seem so maddeningly hard to pin down.
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