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COVID-19 widened Australia's 'loneliness gap'

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Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Survey: A study based solely on people’s responses to a series of questions.

People: This is a study based on research using people.

Aussie scientists used survey data from 2065 participants to investigate the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on loneliness in Australia. In general, the surveys reported increases in loneliness caused by isolation, health anxieties, reduced activity and quality of social connections, and poor motivation. COVID-19 also created new difficulties for single people, those with physical and mental disabilities, their carers, and those with low social capital. There was also reported ‘pruning’ of social networks, and evidence that increased digital interaction did not substitute for lost physical contact. Younger people also reported disruptions, including to travel and university attendance, which contributed to feeling isolated. The authors conclude that COVID-19 has increased potential long-term inequalities in loneliness among Australians, and that digital contact is no replacement for seeing people in the flesh.

Journal/conference: Australian Journal of Social Issues

Link to research (DOI): 10.1002/ajs4.223

Organisation/s: University of Wollongong, The University of Sydney

Funder: This research has been partially funded through two seed funding grants from The University of Sydney LifeSpan Network and the Henry Halloran Trust.

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