As I begin my PhD research, I have decided to start a blog which I’ll update as my research progresses. In this first blog post I’ll outline what my research is about, as well as put out a call to anyone who wishes to get involved in the project!
What is the research about?
This project is about young adults and loneliness. Loneliness is commonly understood as the negative emotion a person feels when there is a mismatch between the relationships they have and the relationships they want (Perlman and Peplau, 1981).Over 9 million people are lonely in the UK (Campaign to End Loneliness) and yet many people often feel too ashamed to admit to feeling lonely or isolated. There can be many reasons for feeling lonely: becoming a parent for the first time; being new to an area; unemployment; starting a new job; divorce and separation; bereavement; financial issues and so on. Many of these things can impact on a person’s relationships and leave them feeling lonely and make it more difficult to reach out and connect with other people.
A national conversation about loneliness has started, with the UK Government’s appointment of a ‘Minister for Loneliness’ and its launch of ‘Strategy for Loneliness’ in 2018, as well as increasing attention in the media. Loneliness is beginning to be seen as something which affects people of all ages, yet it is still commonly associated with older generations.
This project therefore aims to hear from the ‘missing voices’ in the loneliness debate: young adults.
Where am I focusing my research?
This project is interested in exploring the role loneliness plays in the lives of young adults from County Durham. The reason for choosing this area is because it is a place known for its friendliness, sense of community, strong local identities and attachment to place. I therefore want to explore these ideas and how both loneliness and connection is experienced by young adults in County Durham.
I am also from County Durham myself and it is an area I know well. I am therefore particularly interested in exploring how this important topic affects young people in an area I live in and care about.
Who would I like to hear from for this project?
I am looking for anyone aged 20-35 and living in County Durham to take part in the project. Whether you are employed; unemployed; a student; single; married; a parent; living alone, with parents, flatmates, or a partner; have lived in County Durham all of your life, or are new to the area, I want to hear from you whatever your background or circumstances.
What will taking part involve?
If you decide you’d like to take part, I will interview you on your experience of loneliness, as well as ask your thoughts on why you think many young people may be feeling lonely.
I’d like to find out about you and your life, and hear the stories of everyday relationships, connections and community as well as loneliness and isolation.
All interviews would be confidential and your personal details would be kept anonymous. Interviews will take place somewhere convenient for you.
Why get involved?
Talking part in this project will give you the chance to add your perspective on why loneliness may be an issue for young adults.
Your contribution to the study would be hugely valuable as it will go towards a project which seeks to influence political and policy decisions that work towards combatting loneliness.
Want to get involved?
If you are interested in being interviewed for my research and would like some more information, please text, phone or email me using the following information: