1 in 3 men feel lonely at Christmas, even in the company of others, new research finds

Though the festive period is arguably the busiest time of year, it seems that males aged 25+ often experience loneliness, anxiety and a number of pressures at Christmas, new research from The Priory Group has revealed.

The survey, that questioned 2,000 UK males aged 25 and over and was commissioned by One Poll, reveals how over a quarter of 25-34 year olds feel lonely at Christmas, even in the company of others.

Whether it’s financial problems or pressure from work colleagues, unmarried men in relationships find themselves feeling anxious about the year to come more than single, married, cohabiting or widowed men.

Research has found that nearly a quarter of males surveyed experience more financial stress at Christmas time, rather than at any other time of the year.

Top pressures men face at Christmas:-

  • To attend work Christmas parties (42%)
  • Financial worries (41%)
  • Feeling pressure at work (30%)
  • Worrying about the year ahead (25%)
  • Spending time with family (20%)
  • Job security (14%).

Over a quarter (26.3%) of those aged 25-34 feel anxious at the prospect of spending time with family over the festive period.

Dr Ian Drever, Consultant Psychiatrist at The Priory Hospital Woking, explains: “Anxiety is generally a ‘warning light’ which the body uses to flash up some kind of overload, such as an impending event, too much time pressure, difficult interpersonal relations, or too many demands to juggle.

“At Christmas, the nature of such demands increases greatly. Christmas is also loaded with expectations for young men – expectations of family and friends to help create and take part in a ‘perfect Christmas’ and expectations of society, that such behaviour is the norm, and that any deviation from this is a sign of weakness or selfishness.

“All this creates a ‘perfect storm’. It’s no wonder that my clinics are so busy at this time of the year.”

People in London (50.4%), North East (53.64%), North West (50.6%) and Northern Ireland (58.6%) find Christmas a particularly emotional time of year. Surprisingly 53% of males aged 25+ in Northern Ireland stated that stress negatively impacted their Christmas, with 44.8% working over the Christmas Break to keep up with the pressure of work.

81.3% of widowed males find Christmas an emotional time of year with 53.1% feeling lonely, even when around other people.

Out of all males surveyed, 25-34 year olds felt the loneliest at Christmas as opposed to the rest of the year, and felt the highest pressure to work over the festive break to keep up with work targets.

With over a quarter of men (30.2%) feeling lonely at Christmas and over half of men feeling pressure to attend their work’s Christmas party, it’s clear to see how Christmas can bring all different types of pressures for men.

If you would like to talk to someone during the holidays then you may find an emotional support line useful:-
CALL 24/7 – Mental Health Wales helpline: 0800 132 737 (or text ‘help’ to 81066)
Samaritans: 116 123

Matthew Pearce Hafal Head of Communications