What Does The UCLA Loneliness Scale Mean For My Life?

Updated August 26, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

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When it comes to loneliness, we all feel it in different ways. Some people feel lonely when they're by themselves for a short amount of time. Some people feel lonely only after an extended period without anyone near them. When or how you feel lonely is something unique to you, but UCLA has done some research to find out more about it and you. The UCLA Loneliness Scale is designed to help you understand how you feel about loneliness and social isolation and there's a lot more too.

What Is The UCLA Loneliness Scale

In short, this scale is a set of 20 different items that ask you to measure how you feel about each of them. In each situation, you'll be asked how you feel or how often you feel that way, and at the end, all of the results are tabulated to create a better understanding of your feelings in regards to loneliness. It helps researchers to understand the correlation between loneliness and depression as well. In fact, that's why it was created and tested.

How It Works

The test was given initially to a large number of students at UCLA, where the test itself was created. It consists of 20 different line items that have four different answers that range from, 'I often feel this way' to 'I never feel this way.' For each line item, the students were asked to choose which answer fit them the best. The same test was then given five weeks later to ask the same students again the same questions and measure how they felt and what answers they continued to give. The results were then correlated to determine more about depression and loneliness.

What was eventually determined was that the two different qualities do occur in the same people frequently. They also tend to be correlated, but it's difficult to say why they occur. According to the research done with the UCLA test, the two come from different constructs however and are not caused by each other. Someone who is lonely does not become depressed as a result, and someone who is depressed does not become lonely as a result. Still, the two do seem to have some common origins and are highly stable over the period tested.

The original version of the test included all 20 items listed negatively, which some believed may unnecessarily skew the results towards a negative outcome. As a result, in the second version of test ten different questions were altered to make them appear positively, creating less of bias or skew in favor of negative responses. The third version of the test changed some of the wording used to make it less confusing or complicated for anyone who is using the test or reading through it.

What It Means For You

What all of this means for you is that more information can be found and understood about your level of loneliness and how it can affect you. The test itself can measure your feelings of loneliness and your responses to being lonely, but it can also help lead psychologists or other mental health professionals towards a diagnosis of different mental health or physical traumas. In this way, it's possible for you to get the help that you need and to make the changes in your life that are necessary for you to start feeling better overall.

No matter what you're currently experiencing it is possible for you to start pushing yourself forward and moving in a more positive direction. You may feel like you are completely alone and there's nothing that can be done about it but through proper diagnosis there definitely is. It's not just about how often you are alone, but about how often you feel like you are alone. You may be surrounded by people all the time, but if you feel like you are alone, it has the same impact on you as if you were alone at all times.

Getting Help In The Future

You don't want to spend your entire life feeling like you're alone and have no way of feeling better. You want to feel like you have a purpose in your life and that you have something to be happy about. If you're feeling lonely or depressed (or both) that can be more difficult than you had hoped. You want to find a way to improve your way of life and to start moving forward, and that might require you to seek out a mental health professional. The right mental health professional can set you up on a path towards future happiness.

Keep in mind that it's going to take time and effort on your part before you'll feel completely 'better' or the way you want to feel. If you are suffering from depression, it's a long road ahead of you, but it is one that you can come back out of. You can get back to the life that you want to live, and you can feel happier and healthier again. Loneliness and depression don't have to make forever so sure that you're not pushing yourself further into that hole.

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Therapy Can Help

Check out BetterHelp, where you can find more information about the help that's available to you. With this site, you'll find information about different types of mental illness and the help that you can expect. You'll also find plenty of information about how to find a mental health professional that will help you personally.


In fact, this system is a great place to find a professional anywhere in the country that you can feel comfortable talking to about anything that you're experiencing. When you do, you can set up an appointment and then you'll be able to connect via an internet connected device from anywhere that you happen to be. It's just that simple.

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