A new report has highlighted where more research is needed into the negative effects of loneliness on the UK’s population.

Experts from The Universities of Manchester and Exeter joined forces to create the report, which was commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Led by Manchester’s Professor Pamela Qualter, the authors hope to provide non-specialists with an informed overview of where evidence is lacking in the field of loneliness research.

The report has identified what makes people particularly vulnerable to loneliness and its negative effects, how loneliness changes over time, and what makes effective interventions for those reporting loneliness at different ages.

The report highlights the need for more and better research on the topic of loneliness so that we can understand the factors that increase or alleviate loneliness for specific populations. In addition to needing policy makers to make funding available for this research, the report also highlights that some of the factors that increase or alleviate loneliness are structural and can be addressed only by policy, legislation, and improved services.

“Loneliness is experienced as very personal, which often means that each of us thinks we know exactly what it is, what it is caused by and what effects it has, which might lead funders and policy makers to think that we already know everything we need to know about this,” said fellow author Professor Manuela Barreto from the University of Exeter.

“This is not correct, however. This report makes it clear that we still need to carry out quite a lot of research to be well equipped to develop and support interventions that improve connection and or reduce the negative effects of loneliness.”

To read the report, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-loneliness-evidence-review.


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