chapter  5
19 Pages

Personal competences and social isolation

ByLUDWIEN MEEUWESEN

In the previous chapter we saw how people at a high risk of social isolation have encountered more major negative events throughout their lives that still worry them. Such negative events make everyone – whether or not at risk of social isolation – commit to the task of adequately coping with the effects, which include negative feelings. Not everyone manages equally well though. We already saw that one in four respondents became lonely due to such an event, while indicating not having felt lonely before the event (Section 4.6). How come that some individuals worry or separate themselves from others, while others go looking support from people in their surroundings, seek distraction, or tackle the problem? How do individuals deal with the many negative feelings? Do they get over these feelings, do they know how to face the threatening event head-on, or does the event fixate into a person’s life, contributing to a worsening of the situation in terms of loneliness and isolation? The way in which people cope depends strongly on certain personality traits, on socialization and on a number of societal factors.