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 Conference - Loneliness - February 2018
Posted by: Bianca Fox
Title/Position: Senior Lecturer
School/Organization: University of Wolverhampton
Sent to listserv of: SESP, SPSSI
Date posted: October 27th, 2017


"Loneliness in the Age of Mobile and Social Media" (February 23rd, 2018, University of Wolverhampton, UK)


*Dr. Shakuntala Banaji, London School of Economics *

*Dr. Jennifer Lau, King's College London *

With the Campaign to End Loneliness launched in 2011, the BBC documentary The Age of Loneliness (2016) and then the launch of Jo Cox's Commission on Loneliness in January 2017, loneliness makes the headlines and dealing with it is generating intense debates in the UK. Loneliness is a prevalent serious problem in our society and is associated with various health problems (Cacioppo et al. 2002; Nummela, Seppanen, Uutela, 2010; Hawkley and Cacioppo, 2010; Luo, Hawkley, Waite, Cacioppo, 2012). In recent years, loneliness has been associated with internet addiction (Durak-Batugün and Hasta, 2010; Esen and Siyez, 2011), mobile phone use (Oztunc, 2013), and mobile phone addiction (Jin and Park, 2012; Reid and Reid, 2007; Takao, Takahashi and Kitamura, 2009; Wei and Lo, 2006; Tan, Pamuk and Donder, 2013).

Research conducted so far (Perlman, Gerson and Spinner, 1978; Salmela-Aro and Eronen, 1997; Cacioppo et al., 2002; Dykstra, 2009; Dykstra, van Tilburg, & de Jong Gierveld, 2005; De Jong-Gierveld and van Tilburg, 2010; van den Berg, Kemperman, de Kleijn and Borgers, 2015) shows that when discussing loneliness, the assumption is that we are talking about elderly people, usually ignoring young adults who also suffer from loneliness. According to Pinquart and Sorensen (2003), the prevalence and intensity of loneliness are in fact greater in young adults than in any other age group. Moreover, Victor and Yang (2012) argue that the extent of loneliness is U-shaped when mapped graphically against age, indicating that younger and older people have the highest risk of experiencing loneliness. Even so, to date, not much is known about loneliness in young adults. With the exception of only a few studies (Cacioppo, Hawkley, et al., 2006; Nicolaisen and Thorsen, 2014; Blachnio, Perpepiorka, Boruch and Balakier, 2015; Luhmann, Bohn, Holtmann, Koch and Eid, 2016), research in loneliness constantly ignores this demographic and fails to address loneliness that affects young people.

This conference aims to fill this gap in scholarship by also examining the causes and stories of loneliness among young people. As loneliness is
something people are likely to experience at any age, this conference invites scholars to think about this widely prevalent problem from
innovative new perspectives. The conference is devoted to an examination of the current situation across the world from a variety of perspectives and aims to identify and bridge the gaps in academic research on loneliness, creating new research pathways.

*** We welcome papers from established scholars and early career researchers and Ph.D. students. The conference will have a separate section for early career researchers, Ph.D. and masters degree students.

We invite papers that engage with themes including (but not limited to):

- Loneliness and everyday life: stories of loneliness/ episodes of loneliness, media representations of loneliness; online and offline
loneliness; political loneliness; linguistic and cultural loneliness; loneliness in later life; loneliness in young people; loneliness in
children/adolescents; loneliness in men vs. loneliness in women; loneliness and violence; how can transitions increase the risk of
loneliness (for examples: transition to university life, pre-retirement etc.); what works in tackling loneliness?; Impact on families,
neighbors, friendships, local community.

- Research methods: qualitative vs. quantitative; loneliness scales; new methods of measuring loneliness.

- Health: Loneliness, mental health, and well-being; social isolation, depression, anxiety; loneliness and physical health; loneliness and
terminal illness; loneliness and disability/students with special needs; loneliness and cognitive impairment, sight or hearing loss; preventing
and alleviating loneliness; what support is in place/what resources are needed; social support, interventions, and government policy.

- New technologies: loneliness and social media; loneliness and the use of mobile phones; digital divide; big data and loneliness; what
technology/technology-based services can be used to identify and help (mhealth, telecare, telehealth)?; creative digital interventions.

*** Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words, along with your name, e-mail address, academic affiliation, and a short bio to

Abstract submission deadline: *December 18th, 2017*

Acknowledgment of acceptance: *January 10th, 2018*

Registration deadline: *January 20th, 2018*

Conference dates: *February 23rd, 2018*

Deadline to send the final full papers for publication: *May 28th, 2018*

The conference is organized by Dr. Bianca Fox and is funded through ERAS (Early Researcher Award Scheme), School of Media and the Centre for Film, Media, Discourse, and Culture, University of Wolverhampton.

*No conference fee. Registration is a must. Participants will have to cover travel and accommodation. *

***After the conference, a selected number of papers presented at this conference will be published in a special issue of a journal or in an edited volume.

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