Loneliness: clinical import and interventions

Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015 Mar;10(2):238-49. doi: 10.1177/1745691615570616.


In 1978, when the Task Panel report to the US President's Commission on Mental Health emphasized the importance of improving health care and easing the pain of those suffering from emotional distress syndromes including loneliness, few anticipated that this issue would still need to be addressed 40 years later. A meta-analysis (Masi et al., 2011) on the efficacy of treatments to reduce loneliness identified a need for well-controlled randomized clinical trials focusing on the rehabilitation of maladaptive social cognition. We review assessments of loneliness and build on this meta-analysis to discuss the efficacy of various treatments for loneliness. With the advances made over the past 5 years in the identification of the psychobiological and pharmaceutical mechanisms associated with loneliness and maladaptive social cognition, there is increasing evidence for the potential efficacy of integrated interventions that combine (social) cognitive behavioral therapy with short-term adjunctive pharmacological treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Loneliness* / psychology
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use*


  • Psychotropic Drugs