Professor Andrea Wigfield

Professor Andrea Wigfield

Director of Centre for Loneliness Studies


Andrea is a leading researcher on loneliness and social isolation, specialising in the wider social determinants and implications through research, programme evaluation, and evidence based policy and practice.

The key principles which guide her work are academic rigor and evidence based research which is policy driven and leads to impact and change. Many aspects of her research focus on co-production involving all key partners in the research process, including ‘experts by experience’.

As Director of the Policy Evaluation Group (2002-11), Deputy and then Co-Director of CIRCLE (2011–2016,) Director of Care-Connect (2014-2017) and currently Director of Centre for Loneliness Studies (2017+) she has spearheaded interdisciplinary research collaboration and established strong networks in both academia and with external stakeholders in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Andrea has been awarded research funding of almost £3 million and has published over 50 books, chapters, articles, and reports, and worked on approximately 90 externally funded research projects.


Andrea established the Centre for Loneliness Studies in 2017 and prior to that was Director of a number of research centres, within academia at the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds, and in the private sector at the Policy Evaluation Group. Andrea has a longstanding interest in marginalised groups facing adversity and has carried out research to understand their everyday lived experiences and evaluations to explore the effectiveness of interventions to support them. She is currently interested in loneliness across the life-course, particularly in meaningful relationships and the wider societal determinants and policy implications. She has led a number of research projects and evaluations on loneliness and social isolation and supervised PhD students to successful completion.


  • Loneliness among young women in India, Indonesia and Mexico 2021-2022+, Unilever.
  • Evaluation of Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine, 2015-2021, Leeds Older People’s Forum
  • Co-production toolkit: a training guide on how to co-produce, 2020, Time to Shine, Leeds Older People’s Forum
  • Review of the impact of loneliness and social isolation on health and well-being, The Welsh Government, 2018-19, with Ob3 Research
  • Review of key mechanisms in intergenerational practices, and their effectiveness at reducing loneliness and social isolation, 2018-19, with Ob3 Research
  • Reducing loneliness through the built environment, Business Boost, 2018
  • Reducing Loneliness in 12 months, Knowledge Exchange and Impact funding, 2018
  • Typologies of Loneliness, National Lottery Community Fund, 2018-2020 (with Universities of Kent and UWE)
  • Understanding barriers faced by BAME community members in accessing loneliness services, 2018-19, British Red Cross and Co-op.
  • Understanding barriers to connection for people experiencing loneliness at key life transitions, 2018-19, British Red Cross and Co-op.
  • Hen Happy: Stimulating social interaction in care homes through hen keeping, Festival of Social Science, November 2018
  • Evaluation of Chapletown Choice, Leeds City Council, 2015–16
  • Evaluation of Get Moving, Greater London Authority, 2015-16
  • Carers Can Continue to Care (with Sheffield Carers Centre), Primary Care Sheffield, 2016-17
  • Training Needs Analysis, South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership, 2017
  • A Review of risk indicators for social isolation and Loneliness among older people: a literature review, Age UK, 2016
  • Longitudinal evaluation of Sheffield Young Carers project, 2016-18
  • Social Isolation amongst Older People in Leeds, Leeds City Council, 2014-15
  • Evaluation of Fit for the Future Portfolio, Age UK, 2014-15


Journal articles

Makey, L., Lewis, R., Ashmore, R., & Wigfield, A. (2024). Loneliness and the COVID-19 pandemic: implications for practice. British Journal of Nursing, 33 (3), 110-114.

Naughton-Doe, R., Barke, J., Manchester, H., Willis, P., & Wigfield, A. (2022). Ethical issues when interviewing older people about loneliness: reflections and recommendations for an effective methodological approach. Ageing and Society.

Ratcliffe, J., Wigfield, A., & Alden, S. (2021). ‘A lonely old man’: empirical investigations of older men and loneliness, and the ramifications for policy and practice. Ageing and Society, 41 (4), 794-814.

Ratcliffe, J., Gray, J., Bools, C., Wilson, R., Wigfield, A., & Mason, W. (2020). Safeguarding Children When Fabricated or Induced Illness Is Suspected or Proven: Reviewing the Experiences of Local Safeguarding Children Boards in England. Child Abuse Review, 29 (6), 559-573.

Alden, S., Wigfield, A., Kispeter, E., & Karania, V. (2019). Changing the narrative: the role of frontline worker attitudes and beliefs in shaping dementia-friendly services in England. Disability & Society, 34 (5), 775-796.

Wigfield, A., & Alden, S. (2018). Assessing the Effectiveness of Social Indices to Measure the Prevalence of Social Isolation in Neighbourhoods: A Qualitative Sense Check of an Index in a Northern English City. Social Indicators Research, 140, 1017-1034.

Other activities

  • Age UK Impact Fellow
  • Member of Connection Coalition
  • Member, Core Partnership, Leeds Older People’s Forum, Time to Shine, Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better.

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