Award title: NIHR SPCR post-doctoral fellowship
Project Title: Social isolation, loneliness and multimorbidity: a mixed methods study
Increasing numbers of people are living with multiple long-term health conditions. As people age, they are also more likely to experience loneliness and have fewer social connections as a result of changing life circumstances. People who feel lonely or lack social connections (referred to here as social isolation) are more likely to develop additional long-term conditions and suffer worse health. People living with multiple long-term conditions may also experience increased loneliness. However, it is not clear how and why loneliness, social isolation and multiple long-term conditions are linked. This study will use information from 11,000 adults aged over 50 years living in private households in England to look at the relationship between loneliness/social isolation and multiple long-term health conditions over time. This will help us understand whether being lonely and isolated accelerates development of multiple long-term conditions or whether having multiple long-term conditions increases loneliness, or both. We will also interview 25-30 lonely or socially isolated individuals living with multiple long-term conditions and 10-15 care professionals to explore their views on the processes that link loneliness/social isolation and multiple long-term conditions. This study aims to identify factors that may be addressed with a tool to either: (1) reduce people’s risk of developing multiple long-term conditions or (2) reduce loneliness and/or social isolation among people living with multiple long-term conditions.
Start date: 01/02/2023
End date: 31/01/2025