Public invited to take part in national loneliness survey
The British public are being invited to share their experiences of loneliness, as part of a national survey led by the BBC and The University of Manchester.
The Loneliness Experiment is an online survey that will investigate the UK’s experiences of loneliness, and attitudes towards social connections and belonging. With thousands of people expected to take part, this will be the world’s largest-ever survey into subjective experiences of loneliness for people aged 16 and over.
It comes at a time when the topic is at the forefront of many people’s minds, and is being discussed in the media almost every day. There is interest in loneliness among the elderly, how it might be linked to mental health, and how it relates to increasing use of the internet. There is also increasing discussion about how we can help people overcome loneliness, and the different solutions people use to defeat it.
The results from the survey will increase understanding of people’s perceptions of loneliness and the way it is linked to health, internet use, and emotion processing across different ages and among different groups in society.
The University of Manchester’s Professor Pamela Qualter, who is leading the project, said: "We want to know about people’s experiences of loneliness - when does it happen, how intense is it when it happens, and what solutions do people use to overcome it? Also, is there stigma surrounding loneliness?”
Data from the experiment will enable us to look at the most and the least lonely people in society, and in time, may help us to develop robust ways of supporting people of different ages who feel lonely.
The experiment has been designed by a group of researchers at The University of Manchester, University of Exeter, and Brunel University in collaboration with Claudia Hammond, presenter of Radio 4’s All in the Mind. The work is funded by The Wellcome Trust.
The results will be analysed and announced on All in the Mind on BBC Radio 4 in September 2018.
The public can take part by visiting the BBC Radio 4 website or thelonelinessexperiment.com, and share their experiences using the hashtag #LonelinessExperiment.