Summary: Solitude is a complex, multi-dimensional psychological construct, with features which are both negative and positive. Solitude can be: 1) an objective condition of being alone (aloneness), due to the concrete lack of reference points which may offer moral, material, emotive or affective support; 2) a condition which is sought intentionally in order to avoid others defensively (social isolation), protecting oneself from unpleasant emotions or from social anxiety; 3) a condition which is perceived subjectively as negative (loneliness), when, even though being in the company of someone else, someone “feels alone” and separated from other persons. 4) a positive condition which is sought out (solitude), in order to satisfy the need for recollection, reflection, interior order, privacy. In the West, individualism and the crisis in inter-personal relationships renders people in the contemporary world vulnerable to solitude, a perception aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which imposes isolation, restrictions and social distancing. To construct and to maintain inter-personal relationships and to rediscover solitude as a space for privacy with oneself and with God, as a place to inhabit and not as a place from which to keep away, could constitute factors of a positive kind against the risk of psycho-pathology.
Key words: Solitude, aloneness, social isolation, loneliness, solitude as recollection, interpersonal relationships, social distancing.
Parole chiave: Solitudine, aloneness, isolamento sociale, loneliness, solitude, relazioni interpersonali, distanziamento sociale.