Newly published analyses of a 2004 survey indicate that Americans' social safety net is shrinking. On average, the 1,467 respondents listed only two -people with whom they discuss important matters. In 1985 a similar mix of volunteers answering a comparable large survey reported an average of three confidants.
Also surprising: the most frequently reported number of confidants was zero, rather than three in 1985. Principal investigator Lynn Smith-Lovin, professor of sociology at Duke University, speculates that recent increases in time spent at work and frequent changes of residency could explain this striking change.
This article was originally published with the title Confiding in No One.