19 Nov 2015
Study to tackle ‘transient loneliness’
A professor in the School of the Arts, English and Drama is leading a study into ‘transient loneliness’.
Professor Mike Wilson, Associate Dean for Research in the School, is one of several academics contributing to research that they hope will raise awareness of transient loneliness – a concept which is affecting an increasing number of people.
Transient loneliness typically affects people who are temporarily separated from family and friends and undergo important life transitions or disruptions such as: migrant workers moving to the UK for employment, students who leave home to study, lone workers, and those who find themselves in the position of needing to provide full-time care to a family member. Such groups are thought to be more vulnerable to periods of loneliness and may be less likely to take steps to deal with it.
The study Loneliness in the Digital Age: Building Strategies for Empathy and Trust will explore transient loneliness and how technical interventions might help relieve feelings of isolation.
Professor Wilson said: “It is ironic that in an age where we are more digitally connected than ever to the world around us, increasing numbers of people are experiencing periods of loneliness.
“Our aim is to better understand what it means to be transiently lonely, to map how and when these feelings occur, and to work with those affected to explore how this loneliness could be alleviated through creative interventions and technology.
“These people are not ‘lonely people’ in the sense of being chronically lonely, but they are experiencing senses of isolation which could be detrimental to their health and wellbeing.”
The project is being funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), along with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and brings together researchers from Loughborough University and the Universities of Bath, Newcastle, Exeter and Northumbria.
Researchers are working with a number of groups and organisations to identify those experiencing, or at risk of, transient loneliness.