(WTVO) — Young people are more lonely, unhappy and have less partners than their parents; and it may be because young men simply aren’t trying, according to new research.

A study published on DatePsychology reports that almost 50% of young men between the ages of 18-25 said they have never approached women for dates in person.

“In the entire dataset, 29% of men said they never approached a woman in person before. 27% said it had been more than one year. This was larger for men in the age 18-25 group: 45% had never approached a woman in person,” according to the study.

A majority of single males surveyed reported fear as the main reason they do not approach women for dates in person. Fear of rejection and fear of social consequences were the two most common responses.

The data highlights a growing concern in the United States and abroad — loneliness. A 2023 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that almost half of U.S. adults report “measurable levels of loneliness.”

55.1% of men and 40.7% of women said they have felt “a profound and enduring state of unhappiness, uneasiness, and discontent” about their singlehood at some point in their lives, according to a 2023 poll conducted by psychologist Andrew Thomas.

“It’s hard to put a price tag, if you will, on the amount of human suffering that people are experiencing right now,” Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told All Things Considered, according to NPR.

The “epidemic” of social connection is a current priority for the U.S. Surgeon General. However, more research is needed to better understand the problem, says Thomas.

“More research on pathways away from dysphoric singlehood might provide a route to improved relationship prospects and mental health in a growing population of singles,” said Thomas in Psychology Today.