A link has been drawn between feelings of loneliness and health problems.
The University of Arizona has recently published two studies suggesting that feelings of detachment can lead to stress and sleep-related problems.
Stacey Passalacqua, who worked on the studies and recently earned a doctorate in interpersonal and health communication, commented on the reasons for pursuing the study: "There is an association between social networks and health but the precise mechanism is not understood."
The study, which was also led by Chris Segrin at the University of Arizona, looked at 265 adults of varying ages and found that lonely people tended not to manage daily stresses well.
They also revealed that those with fewer close connections did not keep close tabs on their health.
However, Mr Segrin noted that the study came across difficulties in defining loneliness.
"Loneliness is the discrepancy between your achieved and desired level of social contact, and that has important implications.
"The portrait of a lonely person is very difficult to paint because what is really important is what is in your head.
Who can you complain to about private hospital care?