Research

The SHAW lab has several research streams currently being run, these include:

Loneliness and Health: There is ample evidence showing that loneliness is a public health problem that influences one’s social, mental and physical health. In these projects, we are particularly interested in investigating the influence of loneliness on mental health indicators such as depression and social anxiety, and physical health indicators such as heart functioning outcomes.

Loneliness in Older Adults: The main aim of this research strand is to understand the drivers of loneliness in older adults and how interventions can be developed to prevent and address loneliness in older age.

Loneliness in Adolescents and Young People: The main aim of this research strand is to understand how adolescents and young people experience loneliness as well as identifying the factors which contribute to this experience.

Loneliness across Clinical Populations: These projects use an established intervention tool to reduce the effect of loneliness across young people with mental illness. There is a specific focus on young people with psychosis, major depressive disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

Loneliness, Internet Use, and Health Behaviours: Loneliness is increasingly acknowledged to be a growing public health problem that can negatively affect one’s social, mental and physical health. Research in this area is being conduct to clarify our understanding of loneliness, social internet use, health behaviors, and well-being in young adults aged 18 to 25. There is increased importance in being able to track the developmental trajectory of this phenomenon.

Digital Interventions to Reduce Loneliness: Almost all young people own a smartphone and are competent with using it. As such, smartphones may be a useful tool for providing brief interventions to reduce loneliness. In these studies, we have developed a smartphone application to teach young people principles of social connectedness in attempt to increase the number of connections as well as the quality of existing and ongoing connections.