Jun. 24 2020

Columbia Aging Experts Gather Global Data On Loneliness and Social Isolation During COVID-19

Columbia School of Public Health Dean Linda P. Fried, and Professors Kavita Sivaramakrishnan and Vegard Skirbekk in the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia, are undertaking a global survey along with researchers from the U.S. Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK and the Netherlands on how people are coping during the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey covers life before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, including key challenges faced and coping strategies used. 

The physical distancing and restriction of movement as part of Covid-19 public health measures require people to change their work, home and social lives. It is suspected that many more people than ever before are experiencing loneliness and social isolation due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

“We know that chronic loneliness and social isolation are associated with poor health outcomes and we suspect that unfortunately many more people will have experienced loneliness and social isolation during this time,” said Dean Fried.  “By working with international experts and gathering data at a global level we can pool expertise and support governments and policymakers in making decisions to address this challenge.” 

The anonymous online survey is for people aged 18+ and includes questions on demographics, health, health behaviours, loneliness, isolation and personal experiences around Covid-19. The survey will help researchers understand how people are coping during the Covid-19 pandemic especially in relation to loneliness and social isolation.  

The survey is available in multiple languages. English, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Greek, French (available shortly) and Arabic (available shortly).

In addition to Columbia Mailman School, the project involves the Institute of Public Health, Ulster University, Trinity College Dublin, Maynooth University, St James’s Hospital Dublin, Brunel University, Boston College, George Mason University; University of Auckland & Swansea University, Nipissing University; NORC at the University of Chicago; Brigham Young University; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; and University of California, San Francisco. 

A link to the survey is here 

Background documentation on the survey is available at www.publichealth.ie/clic