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Loneliness experienced by those providing care for an adult family member with chronic illness
  1. Christine J McPherson
  1. School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christine J McPherson, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N6N5, Canada; cmcphers{at}

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Commentary on: Chistell, F., Stängle, S., & Fringer, A. (2023). ‘Loneliness is a monotonous thing’: descriptive qualitative research on the loneliness of caring relatives. BMC Nurs 22, 161 doi: 10.1186/s12912-023-01327-4.

Implications for practice and research

  • The study describes the social, emotional and existential aspects of loneliness in family caregivers of adults with chronic illnesses who are housebound, raising awareness of a prevalent and significant issue.

  • More research is needed to understand the experience of loneliness across the trajectories of various illnesses and to develop a fuller understanding of existential loneliness.


Loneliness is a universal, subjective experience that arises from a perceived lack of meaningful social relationships or connectedness with those around us.1 2 It is characterised by feelings of isolation, emptiness and a sense of disconnectedness from others.1 While feelings of loneliness can be transient, chronic loneliness is pervasive in society and contributes to negative …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.