Loneliness and Social Distancing Research Study

Learn about the COVID-19 Loneliness and Social Distancing Research Study and how you can participate.Principal Investigator: Katie C. Lewis, PhD

Recruitment for this study has closed.

You are invited to participate in a research study on experiences of loneliness and boredom in response to social distancing related to the novel COVID-19 virus pandemic, entitled “Loneliness and Social Distancing.” Currently, very little is known about how individuals manage to maintain a sense of connection to their social community and to handle feelings of stress, anxiety, and boredom with reduced access to social resources. In an effort to better understand how the experience of social distancing and other factors relate to mental health and feelings of social connectedness, we are inviting you to participate in a smartphone-based experience sampling research study.

The study is open to all individuals age 18 and older currently residing in the United States who own a smartphone; a reliable WiFi connection is helpful, but not required for participation. The study is completed entirely through a secure app on your smartphone hosted by the data collection platform LifeData, which you may access and download by following the link below. No data will be stored on your phone and you may delete the app at the end of your time of participation in the study; the app will not collect any information from you or about you other than the responses you directly enter for the study. The informed consent and initial survey process take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. After, you will be asked to respond to a brief set of questions about changes in your mood and sense of social connection twice per week for the following eight weeks (sixteen entries in total). You will receive automated prompts reminding you to respond to these questions, and each entry should take approximately 5-8 minutes to complete.

The study questionnaires should load automatically, however if they do not then you may search for “Loneliness and Social Distancing” and download the questionnaires once the study app is on your phone. After completing the initial measures, you will have the option of entering into a raffle for one of ten $10 gift cards. For each week thereafter that you provide two weekly updates on your mood and experiences, you will have the option of being entered into a second raffle for one of twenty $20 gift cards. We hope that the results of this study will improve understanding of how individuals manage experiences of reduced social connection and facilitate the development of psychiatric and social interventions aimed at reducing stress and loneliness during times of increased social isolation. We thank you for your time and participation. For questions about the study, please contact the Principal Investigator, Katie C. Lewis, PhD at katie.lewis@austenriggs.net.

This research, which was funded through the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center, is being conducted in compliance with the Center's Institutional Review Board (IRB) standards to ensure the confidentiality and ethical use of the research information. Data gathered for the initiative will only be accessible to Dr. Lewis and other approved Austen Riggs research support staff.