• There's a scientific way to determine how lonely you are, called the UCLA Loneliness Scale.
  • Health insurer Cigna on Wednesday released a 10-question version of the tool, made in partnership with Dr. Daniel Russell, who created the initial scale.
  • take the quiz here
  • .

Being lonely can have a big impact on your health, fromdisrupting sleep and increasingstress, to weakening aperson's immune system. It's alsoassociated with cognitive decline, heart disease, and greater frailty later on in life. And recent research has found that it has such a significant effect on mortality rates thatloneliness could be considered a public health threatthat's more harmful than obesity and about asbad as smoking.

Read more: Loneliness may be a greater public health hazard than obesity — and experts say it has hit epidemic levels in the US

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Evaluating loneliness

Possible loneliness scores ranged from 20 to 80 in the scale, with anything above 43 qualifying as "lonely." The average score was a 44, making most Americans qualify as lonely.

Just under half of respondents reported sometimes or always feeling alone or left out. About 27% of Americans said they feel that people rarely or never understand them. One-fifth of respondents said they rarely or never feel close to people, and just under half said they didn't have meaningful relationships or felt isolated.

Young people in particular reported high rates of loneliness, with rates gradually decreasing with age.

Take the

Kevin Loria reporting.