New ESRC-funded project explores loneliness and wellbeing among adolescents and young adults

Published 13th February 2020

Dr Emily Long has been awarded one of three new secondary data analysis project collaborations with What Works Centre for Wellbeing. Emily’s project, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will explore the impact of loneliness on the wellbeing of teens and young adults.

Loneliness is increasingly recognised as a serious public health concern within the UK, with robust links to physical health, use of health care services, and early mortality. Though loneliness has historically been viewed as an issue amongst older adults, recent research has shown elevated levels of loneliness among young people, with effects accumulating across the lifespan.

The project focuses exclusively on young people, and leverages data from three large UK data resources to identify individual and community factors associated with loneliness, differentiate loneliness from related aspects of social wellbeing, and investigate the impact of loneliness on personal wellbeing and mental health. Findings from the project will allow for early identification of risk and protective factors for loneliness that subsequently inform the design of public policy aimed at alleviating loneliness, and improving personal wellbeing and mental health.

Dr Emily Long, who is an MRC Skills Development Fellow at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, said:

“Loneliness is increasingly recognised as a serious threat to public health, and young people are particularly at risk. I’m delighted to be working with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing to ensure that findings from our project reach a diverse set of stakeholders, including policy-makers, practitioners, charities, and young people themselves.”

First published: 13 February 2020

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