Declining marriages and absent fathers fuel loneliness epidemic

loneliness epidemic

A recent study suggests a collapse in marriages and resident fatherhood is fuelling a loneliness epidemic and “the unravelling of Christianity” in the US.

Communio, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to strengthening families through partnerships with churches nationwide, conducted the study involving 19,000 Sunday church attendees from 112 evangelical, Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.

The survey revealed that while only 22% of regular churchgoers experience loneliness, there is a significant disparity in loneliness levels among married, cohabiting and single individuals who attend church services.

The study found that single churchgoers were more than three times as likely to feel lonely.

According to JP DeGance, president of Communio and the study’s author, societal messages promoting career success and financial gain over marriage and family are taking a toll.

“What we’re seeing in the study is that the net effect of all of that is the crisis of loneliness; that the most lonely people walking around in our churches, in our communities, are actually not the elderly or widows,” DeGance told Fox News Digital.

“It’s men and women in their 30s, who in every other time period — almost every other decade before this century — would have been overwhelmingly likely to be married.”

“They’re not today, and as a consequence, they are also the among the loneliest Americans,” he added.

Loneliness as deadly as smoking

The study highlighted that nearly two-thirds of unmarried individuals in their 30s reported feelings of loneliness, surpassing the percentage among widows.

The findings coincide with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s May 2 advisory, which warned that epidemic levels of loneliness in the US could be as deadly as smoking.

DeGance asserted that most churches are not adequately addressing the marital and relational crisis faced by younger generations.

The study found that 85% of all churches in the US report allocating no funds annually for marriage and relationship ministry.

The study also shed light on the role of fathers in the home, emphasising their importance in maintaining Christian faith in the US.

Approximately 80% of Sunday church attendees across all demographics were raised in continuously married homes with both biological parents.

However, researchers identified the collapse of fathers in the home due to declining marriage rates as a significant factor contributing to the decline of Christianity.


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