Joiner (Psychology/Florida State Univ.) is involved in a Department of Defense research project on the prevention of suicidal behavior in the military. This acumen translates smoothly into his intensive examination into the epidemic of male melancholy and how differentiating factors affect the proliferation of “the lonely sex.”
The author begins with a clear explanation of what loneliness is before he draws engaging parallels between a man’s intrinsic drive for monetary and material successes with listless maturation, depletion of social interactions and subsequent disinterest in (and disconnection with) intimate relationships, friendships and familial cultivation. Joiner juxtaposes the loneliness of men against their female counterparts, acknowledging a woman’s increased likeliness to vocalize her needs and seek professional assistance. Providing well-rounded explanations, the author makes his case convincing with the citation of medical journals, startling statistics and personal histories such as that of novelist Jack London, whose demeanor deteriorated from gregarious to detached as he aged. Factors that exacerbate feelings of isolation, Joiner writes, include middle age, alcohol dependency, bereavement, economic downturns and narcissism. He notes that the mortality rate for lonely men (as compared to those “well-connected”) is substantially higher, and, therefore, any remedies offered could be considered lifesaving ones. A chapter on the serious (and often lethal) consequences of loneliness gives way to pages on the sociological and medicinal remedies currently available.
An effective exploration of why many men succumb to loneliness and the ways to assuage the condition.