Home Social Norms Examples How is Apathy defined, and what are its consequences?

How is Apathy defined, and what are its consequences?

How is Apathy defined, and what are its consequences?
How is Apathy defined, and what are its consequences?
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What does Apathy mean? Apathy If we want to define it briefly, Apathy is the lack of feeling, emotion, interest, or worry about anything.

Definition of Apathy and general information about it

It is often Apathy to suppress anxiety, excitement, motivation, or passion. People who feel indifferent have no interest in emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical, virtual, or physical life and the world. 

Apathy often occurs due to a lack of direction in a specific goal in life. Apathy is the lack of feeling or emotion about things and people. People who experience Apathy do not have a sense of purpose, value, or meaning in their lives. Of course, people who suffer from severe Apathy have a lower quality of life. These people are more at risk of death and hospitalization (Fahed & Steffens, 2021).

Young lady apathetic
Young lady apathetic

Characteristics of apathetic people

The feeling of Apathy will affect your inner and outer motives and induce you to feel separated from the world.

People who feel indifferent have these characteristics:

  • They do not care about daily activities, hobbies, or personal interests
  • They avoid showing interest and passion in their relationships
  • They feel indifferent to spending time with others
  • There is very little change in emotions or mood swings

Everyone may experience indifferent feelings from time to time, especially when faced with something stressful.

But if this level of Apathy persists and is persistent, it can negatively affect interpersonal relationships, daily life, and overall well-being. If the Apathy continues, the person’s symptoms may also affect his mental and medical health and make treatment difficult.

An apathetic woman against her husband's kisses
An apathetic woman against her husband’s kisses

Apathy compared to depression.

Depression is not always accompanied by indifference. A person may feel indifferent and experience it without symptoms of depression. Depression and feelings of Apathy are two different things.

But it is essential to know that people who live with depression notice signs of Apathy in their behavior. Some of the behaviors and emotions that indicate that a depressed person is feeling indifferent are:

  • Decreased motivation compared to the past
  • Less interest in doing regular activities
  • Low energy compared to the past
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Difficulty expressing interest in other people

The main key symptoms of depression are:

  • Poor mood
  • feel guilty
  • Disappointment

If you notice these symptoms, the best solution is to contact a professional therapist because depression is treatable.

Young couple apathetic to each other
Young couple apathetic to each other

People who experience Apathy may also share feelings of lethargy or lethargy.

In positivist psychology, Apathy refers to a state where people feel they do not have the skill to face a challenge.

Of course, sometimes, these people may not understand the challenge they face. For example, they may consider the challenge irrelevant, or vice versa. In the face of the challenge, they use the state of helplessness to solve their problem.

Apathy is a way to forget negative emotions.

Apathy happens to many people throughout life, and everyone will face it somehow. Apathy can be considered a natural response to frustration, depression, and stress. That is, feeling indifferent is a way to forget these negative feelings. Apathy to things is sometimes typical among many people, and only in the short term do they experience the feeling that it is not a problem. If Apathy becomes a long-term or lifelong condition, it is a harmful phenomenon and will often lead to more profound social and psychological issues. An example of severe Apathy is numbness in the face of stressful daily life events such as job loss.

Apathetic middle-aged man reading a book
Apathetic middle-aged man reading a book

Severe Apathy and impaired brain function

Pathological Apathy manifests itself in severe forms of Apathy. These severe symptoms of apathy cause disorders in the brain (Husain & Roiser, 2018).

One of the conditions that cause Apathy is neurodegenerative and often associated with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease (Nobis & Husain, 2018).

Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia are also signs of severe Apathy.

apathy and technology

Many people use different methods to deal with the stresses of their daily lives. They seek to increase their ability to “eliminate” frustrations and to feel less frustrated.

Therefore, they consider Apathy an essential step in advancing their goals and performing other activities. In this way, they pave the way for achieving new goals.

 The impact of technology on increasing Apathy in humans is undeniable. Because many people have smartphones and constantly see negative news and information. Because this negative and sad news and information for people are not in their “circle and their group,” they are ignored. They only react to news and information about close friends or family people.

Social issues and Apathy

Other factors also play a role in people’s indifference. It is interesting to note that social Apathy is considered worse than expressing hatred or anger.

Not caring about things is even worse for some people than expressing disgust with an issue. According to Helen Keller, Apathy is one of the worst bad things in the world (Keller & Silverman, 1994).

apathy has many social consequences. Many people believe that not caring about society is worse than being angry or expressing hatred.

Apathy in students

Apathy is a growing problem for many high school students. Students’ Apathy forces teachers to lower their standards to engage their students in lessons and interactions (Bishop, 1989).

Apathetic boy student
Apathetic boy student

It is possible to detect students’ lack of motivation in schools. Many students either have Apathy or lack of motivation, or external reasons are essential.

In interviews, 50% of students stated the reason and motivation for success in school. Students mentioned external causes such as being accepted to university or getting good grades.

External and internal motivations in students and Apathy

In contrast, only fourteen percent of students cited intrinsic motivations such as learning science or learning curriculum to succeed in school.

For these reasons, students have no natural desire to acquire knowledge and will often make the slightest effort to pass their classes.

Apathetic little girl
Apathetic little girl

If we want to name other causes of students’ lack of motivation, we must mention factors such as their home life situations, the influence of the media and their peers, and the conflicts and failures of the school. The presence of some factors is also a sign of students’ indifference. For example, students get low grades in their exams. They are not present in class or are absent frequently. Their parents complain of behavioral changes at school and home (Korpershoek et al., 2014).


Thank you for being with us, and we are waiting for your comments and suggestions to improve the articles. Your comments are important to us, and we thank you for following us on various social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We ask questions that can be interesting for anyone to think about and increase their knowledge of social, historical, and psychological issues.

In this article, we tried to provide helpful information about Apathy and its harms in the daily lives of individuals and students. Have you seen anyone around you who is indifferent? What are the characteristics of these people usually?


  1. Fahed, M., & Steffens, D. C. (2021). Apathy: Neurobiology, Assessment and Treatment. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience, 19(2), 181–189. https://doi.org/10.9758/cpn.2021.19.2.181
  2. Husain, M., & Roiser, J. P. (2018). Neuroscience of apathy and anhedonia: a transdiagnostic approach. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 19(8), 470–484. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41583-018-0029-9
  3. Nobis, L., & Husain, M. (2018). Apathy in Alzheimer’s disease. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 22, 7–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.12.007
  4. Keller, H., & Silverman, R. (1994). Light in My Darkness (Revised ed.). Swedenborg Foundation.
  5. Bishop, J. H. (1989). Perspective: Why the Apathy in American High Schools? Educational Researcher, 18(1), 6–42. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189×018001006
  6. Korpershoek, H., Kuyper, H., & Van der Werf, G. (2014). Differences in students’ school motivation: A latent class modelling approach. Social Psychology of Education, 18(1), 137–163. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-014-9274-6
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