Pandemic loneliness, UArizona professor says normalcy will return

Posted at 10:49 AM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2020-12-31 14:51:12-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The social effects of the pandemic has left many people separated from loved ones.

Through almost a year of shifting how we interact with people, Dr. Kory Floyd, a University of Arizona communication and psychology professor says, technology has been a huge benefit.

“Think about what this pandemic would have been like if it had struck 25-30 years ago, when we didn't have the internet, when we couldn't jump on a zoom and see each other, when most people didn't even have cell phones, it would have been a very different experience,” said Floyd.

Floyd says we have quickly adapted to the tools that were available to us to make the most out of communication with loved ones during a pandemic.

To the matter of some people adjusting to lonelier times better than others, he said, “It's really not even an either or situation. I think most of us are missing, being able to be with others in person. The one thing that communication technology can't give us is the ability to touch,” said Floyd.

He does agree that there has been a huge cultural shift in how we interact with one another.

“My speculation is that as we emerge from this period of isolation, there's going to be a period of time when we're more cautious around other people, when we're careful about personal space. But my speculation is going to be that we will quickly get through that period of time, and we will go back to the ways we interacted before,” said Floyd.

He has two reasons for this. One, we have been through pandemics before and have bounced back to normalcy; and two, the behavior of touch is highly important to us.

“We will get through this. We don't know how it's going to end. But again, taking history as our lesson, we know that it will end , and that we will return to some sense of normalcy and some sense of normal ways of interacting with others. So, that’s my prediction,” said Floyd.