In sociology, social isolation is a socio-cultural phenomenon that denotes the lack of social interaction, that is, the absence of contact between individuals.
It is therefore a condition (voluntary or not) where some individuals (individual isolation) or social groups (group isolation), for various reasons, prefer the isolation of society.
People who suffer from social isolation have many difficulties in relating and, therefore, move away from social life, which can lead to decreased mental functions, and in the most extreme cases, psychiatric problems.
In this case, people stop participating in various activities in society, a phenomenon that can be generated by social exclusion. Usually this concept is related to minorities, for example, the elderly, the black, the obese, among others.
Currently, to reverse the social isolation, there are several therapies, psychological and psychiatric treatment.
Causes of Social Isolation
Social isolation is caused by several factors. The main causes of social isolation are related to the various types of prejudice (ethnic, cultural, religious, economic, physical appearance, etc.). That is, people (or groups) who suffer some kind of discrimination may prefer to isolate themselves from society.
Some problems that have occurred since childhood, for example at the family level, can also lead to social isolation.
Marginalized people or groups who do not fully exercise citizenship and are excluded for some reason can lead to the process of isolation.
Generally, people who suffer from social isolation are shy, insecure, and express feelings of inferiority that for some reason resulted from relationship problems during childhood or adolescence.
In this case, we can mention bullying and cyberbulliyng, types of prejudice widely practiced among adolescents.
Both express physical and psychic aggression (real or virtual) in which the individual feels rejected (either by appearance, disability, social class, etc.) and ends up isolating himself from the rest of society.
For this reason, the “isolated” usually do not have friends or stronger relationships of trust.
Consequences of Social Isolation
Several consequences denote social isolation and can lead to psychic disturbances:
- Social phobia
- Drug addiction
Given the problems that can cause in individuals, social isolation leads to various actions that can be detrimental to physical and mental health, for example: mood swings, pressure, low esteem, antisocial behavior, aggressiveness, development of pathologies, among others. .
Social isolation can lead people to have phobias to relate (social phobia) and therefore to have a job, participate in social events or even go shopping.
Depending on the factors involved, there are several types of insulation, namely:
- Geographic Isolation
- Social isolation
- Cultural Isolation
- Psychic Isolation
Social Interaction x Social Isolation
Social interaction is an opposite concept to social isolation, since it promotes contact between people, helping to build social groups and, consequently, social structure.