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Excerpted from Intimate Connections by David Burns. Copyright © 1985 by David Burns. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"More than 50 percent of the 40,000 people surveyed reported that they sometimes or often felt lonely."

  David Burns, Intimate Connections, Part 1

Do you ever feel lonely and wish you had better relationships with people? If so, youíre not alone as you might think. 

As you can see in Table 1-1, in one recent national study by Psychology Today magazine, more than 50 percent of the 40,000 people surveyed reported that they sometimes or often felt lonely. This suggests that loneliness afflicts more than 100 million Americans.

Table 1-1
Percentage of People in Different Age Groups
Who Said They Feel Lonely "Sometimes" or "Often" 

Under 18





Over 54







Adapted from M.B. Parlee, "The Friendship Bond: PTís Survey Report on Friendship in America," Psychology Today, (October 1979).

While these figures may sound discouraging, the good news is that scientists are beginning to understand the causes of loneliness and to develop effective techniques that can boost your self-esteem and enhance your relationships with others.

The following self-assessment test will help you determine how lonely you are. This scale measures positive and negative feelings people sometimes have about themselves and others. After you read each statement, circle the dot that indicates how much it describes the way you feel between "Not at all" and "Nearly always." Read each statement carefully. Some of them are worded in such a way that a positive, happy feeling is indicated by "Nearly always," and others are so worded than an unhappy, negative feeling is indicated by "Nearly always."

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