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Isolation as a psychological pressure strategy

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Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. It differs from loneliness, which reflects a temporary lack of contact with other humans. Social isolation can be an issue for individuals of any age, though symptoms may differ by age group.

It is iften used by toxic managers such as micromanagers and bullies. Bullying is comprised of direct behaviors such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting, and stealing that are initiated by one or more students against a victim. In addition to direct attacks, bullying may also be more indirect by causing a student to be socially isolated through intentional exclusion.

Relational bullying is a form of social isolation that includes behaviors such as gossiping, intentionally leaving students out of activities, spreading rumors, and other measures that seek to change peer groups (Olweus, 1993). Bjorkqvist, Lagerspetz, and Kaukiainen (1992) described relational bullying as an

"attempt to inflict pain in such a manner that he or she makes it seem as though there has been no intention to hurt at all" (p. 118).

Isolation includes such methods as

Every day aspects of social isolation can mean:

True social isolation over years and decades can be a chronic condition affecting all aspects of a person's existence. Social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness, fear of others, or negative self-esteem.[1] Lack of consistent human contact can also cause conflict with the (peripheral) friends the socially isolated person may occasionally talk to or cause problems with family members.

Social isolation often  involves the elderly. 

Social isolation is both a potential cause and a symptom of emotional or psychological challenges.  Isolation can increase feelings of loneliness and depression, fear of other people, or create a negative self-image. There is a realization in the individual that their isolating is not 'normal behavior' and can create the feeling that there is a whole world going on to which they do not belong or are unable to be a part of.

Substance abuse can also be an element in isolation, whether a cause or a result. This can and many times does coincide with mood related disorders, but also with loneliness. According to a study that was conducted by Kimmo Herttua, Pekka Martikainen, Jussi Vahtera, and Mika Kivimäki, living alone can increase rates of being socially isolated and leading individuals to turn to the use of alcohol and other substances.[citation needed]

Social isolation can begin early in life. An example would be a sensitive child who finds him or herself bullied or ridiculed. During this time of development, a person may become more preoccupied with feelings and thoughts of their individuality that are not easy to share with other individuals. This can result from feelings of shame, guilt, or alienation during childhood experiences.[3]

Whether new technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones exacerbate social isolation (of any origin) is a debated topic among sociologists. With the advent of online social networking communities, there are increasing options to become involved with social activities that do not require real-world physical interaction. Chat rooms, message boards, and other types of communities can meet the needs of those who would rather be alone, yet still develop communities of online friends.

Social isolation can also coincide with developmental disabilities. Individuals with learning impairments may have trouble with social interaction. The difficulties experienced academically can greatly impact the individual's esteem and sense of self-worth. An example would be the need to repeat a year of school (this does not occur in many countries—for this very reason). During the early childhood developmental years, the need to fit in and be accepted is paramount. Having a learning deficit can in turn lead to feelings of isolation, that they are somehow 'different' from others.[citation needed]

The elderly have a unique set of isolating dynamics. Increasing frailty, possible declines in overall health, absent or uninvolved relatives or children, economic struggles can all add to the feeling of isolation. Among the elderly, childlessness can be a cause for social isolation. Whether their child is deceased or they didn't have children at all, the loneliness that comes from not having a child can cause social isolation.[4] Retirement, the abrupt end of daily work relationships, the death of close friends or spouses can also contribute to social isolation.[5]

The loss of a loved one can contribute to social isolation. For example, if an individual loses a spouse, they are likely to lose their primary social support. They now must find some other kind of support to help them through this fragile time. Studies have shown that widows who keep in contact with friends or relatives have better psychological health. A study conducted by Jung-Hwal Ha and Berit Ingersoll-Dayton concluded that widows who had a lot of social contact and interactions lead to fewer depressive symptoms. During a time of loss social isolation is not beneficial to an individual's mental health.[6]

Although objective social isolation can affect perceived social isolation (loneliness), it is perceived isolation that is more closely related to the quality than quantity of social interactions.[7] This is in part because loneliness is influenced by factors unrelated to objective isolation, including genetics, childhood environment, cultural norms, social needs, physical disabilities, and discrepancies between actual and desired relationships. Accordingly, perceived social isolation predicts various outcomes above and beyond what is predicted by objective isolation.[citation needed] Research by Cole and colleagues showed that perceived social isolation is associated with gene expression — specifically, the under-expression of genes bearing anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid response elements and over-expression of genes bearing response elements for pro-inflammatory NF-κB/Rel transcription factors.[8] This finding is paralleled by decreased lymphocyte sensitivity to physiological regulation by the hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical (HPA) axis in lonely individuals, which together with evidence of increased activity of the HPA axis, suggests the development of glucocorticoid resistance in chronically lonely individuals.[citation needed]

Throughout the past three decades social isolation has increased, causing family interaction and communication to decrease.

Risk factors

The following risk factors contribute to reasons why individuals distance themselves from society.

According to James House, when it comes to physical illness, "The magnitude of risk associated with social isolation is comparable with that of cigarette smoking and other major biomedical and psychosocial risk factors. However, our understanding of how and why social isolation is risky for health — or conversely — how and why social ties and relationships are protective of health, still remains quite limited."[12]

The research of Brummett[13] shows that social isolation is unrelated to a wide range of measures of demographic factors, disease severity, physical functioning, and psychological distress. Hence, such factors cannot account for or explain the substantial deleterious effects of social isolation.

However, they also show that isolated individuals report fewer interactions with others, fewer sources of psychological/emotional and instrumental support, and lower levels of religious activity. The obvious question is whether adjusting for one or more of these factors reduces the association of social relationships/isolation with health, and which factors constitute the active ingredient in social isolation producing its deleterious effects on health.

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[Dec 26, 2016] How Social Isolation Is Killing Us

Notable quotes:
"... About one-third of Americans older than 65 now live alone, and half of those over 85 do. People in poorer health -- especially those with mood disorders like anxiety and depression -- are more likely to feel lonely. Those without a college education are the least likely to have someone they can talk to about important personal matters. ..."
"... Loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline in older adults, and isolated individuals are twice as likely to die prematurely as those with more robust social interactions. These effects start early: Socially isolated children have significantly poorer health 20 years later, even after controlling for other factors. All told, loneliness is as important a risk factor for early death as obesity and smoking. ..."
Dec 26, 2016 |
( 259 Posted by BeauHD on Friday December 23, 2016 @10:30PM from the forever-alone dept.

schwit1 quotes a report from The New York Times: Social isolation is a growing epidemic (Warning: may be paywalled; alternate source )

... one that's increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they're lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent.

About one-third of Americans older than 65 now live alone, and half of those over 85 do. People in poorer health -- especially those with mood disorders like anxiety and depression -- are more likely to feel lonely. Those without a college education are the least likely to have someone they can talk to about important personal matters.

A wave of new research suggests social separation is bad for us. Individuals with less social connection have disrupted sleep patterns , altered immune systems , more inflammation and higher levels of stress hormones .

One recent study found that isolation increases the risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent. Another analysis that pooled data from 70 studies and 3.4 million people found that socially isolated individuals had a 30 percent higher risk of dying in the next seven years, and that this effect was largest in middle age.

Loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline in older adults, and isolated individuals are twice as likely to die prematurely as those with more robust social interactions. These effects start early: Socially isolated children have significantly poorer health 20 years later, even after controlling for other factors. All told, loneliness is as important a risk factor for early death as obesity and smoking.

The use of coping strategies by Danish children classed as bullie...


The coping strategies employed in response to different types of bullying, by 305 Danish children (142 boys, 163 girls) in school years four to nine (aged 10–15 years), were investigated. Children were classed into four bully–victim status types. A revised version of the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire was used for the classification of children, and a Self-Report Coping Measure for the investigation of coping strategies. The coping strategy of Externalizing was used significantly more by children classed as bully/victims compared with victims and not involved children; Seeking Social Support and Internalizing were preferred significantly more by girls, whereas Externalizing was preferred significantly more by boys; Distancing, Seeking Social Support, and Internalizing were favored significantly more by children in years four to six compared with children in years seven to nine.

Looking at coping strategies in response to different types of bullying, Seeking Social Support was used significantly more in response to attack on property relative to verbal bullying, social exclusion, and indirect bullying, and Distancing was used significantly less in response to attack on property compared with any of the other types of bullying. The results are discussed in relation to implications for educational practice.

Social Skills

A useful paper...

[AAa] Bullying in schools school counselors' responses to three types of bullying incidents Professional School Counseling Find Articles at BNET

Adolescent Health Problems: Behavioral Perspectives - Google Books Result

by Jan Lance Wallander, Lawrence J. Siegel - 1995 - Medical - 314 pages
Although our findings showed the assessment of social skills was not useful in ... reported greater use of social isolation as a coping strategy than ...

Bullying Among Prisoners- Evidence, Research and Intervention ... - Google Books Result

  1. by Jane L. Ireland - 2002 - Social Science - 235 pages
    Avoidance and social isolation Being victimised can encourage victims to make changes ... should be expected to occur among the victims of bullying as well. ...

Anti-bullying Strategy and Guidance 08-10

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
changing the behaviour of potential bullies to promote pro-social relationships. Using a range of strategies that includes: ... - Similar pages

Bullying - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

He also suggests that social aggression or indirect bullying is characterized by threatening the victim into social isolation. This isolation is achieved ...

The abuser perverts the system - therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and judges. He uses them to pathologize the victim and to separate her from her sources of emotional sustenance - notably, from her children.

Forms of Abuse by Proxy

But, by far, her children are the abuser's greatest source of leverage over his abused spouse or mate.

This is the subject of the next article.

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