Centre for Loneliness Studies

Centre for Loneliness Studies

The Centre for Loneliness Studies carries out internationally recognised, high quality academic research on loneliness which is theoretically driven and both informed by, and able to inform, policy and practice.

The Centre offers an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to loneliness research, seeking to understand the wider societal explanations for, and potential solutions to, loneliness across the life-course.

Our aims

  • To contribute to existing, and develop new, theoretical approaches to loneliness;
  • To contribute to a developing international evidence base on loneliness interventions using various research methods including realist approach to evaluations, Randomised Controlled Trials (where possible), and economic evaluations;
  • To draw on a range of existing, and develop new, innovate methodological approaches to carry out new analysis and produce novel empirical research findings at local, national, and international levels;
  • To work closely, in partnership, with key external stakeholders, to ensure that our research can be translated into policy and practice;
  • To involve Experts by Experience (individuals who have been or are affected by loneliness).

Our key research questions

  • Which groups in society are most at risk of loneliness and why?
  • What are the psychological and wider societal determinants of loneliness?
  • What are the social, economic, psychological and health implications of loneliness?
  • What can be done about loneliness? What is working locally, nationally and internationally?
  • What are the social, economic, psychological and health benefits of tackling loneliness?

Our themes

The Centre seeks to explore the wider societal explanations for and potential solutions to loneliness by focusing on the following themes:

  • The built environment - design, spaces and places, including open public spaces, housing, residential care;
  • Community enablers – participation, engagement, interaction, social capital, security and safety;
  • Technology – companion and social robots, assisted living technology, digital society, artificial intelligence, epigenetics;
  • Health, wellbeing and social care – prevention, safeguarding, care implications of loneliness;
  • Employment, business and work practices - links to productivity, quality of working life, absenteeism, collegiate spirit, the role of employers;
  • Childhood, families and education - the way in which early years shape risk factors of loneliness, role of families, childhood and educational institutions.


The Centre, directed by Prof Andrea Wigfield, is multi-disciplinary, bringing together researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines at both SHU and the University of Sheffield, as well as other universities.

The Centre is also supported by an external advisory group of public, voluntary and private sector organisations with an interest in both understanding and tackling loneliness in society.

A group of Experts by Experience (individuals who have been or are affected by loneliness) guide the Centre’s activities.


Listen to Professor Andrea Wigfield, Director of the Centre for Loneliness Studies, on BBC Science's Instant Genius Podcast: How loneliness can affect your health, and what you can do to combat it

A group of women sat together in a care home laughing and eating together

Contact us

For further information about the centre for Loneliness Studies, please contact Prof Andrea Wigfield