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Coronavirus situation at the University of Eastern Finland

An old lonely woman

Large international study looks at coping and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic

Have you felt lonely during the pandemic? How have you coped with the state of emergency? Two Finnish universities, the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki, are involved in an international study that looks into people’s experiences of loneliness, isolation and coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study has already been launched in the US, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, Norway and the Netherlands, and now also in Finland.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been asked to do physical distancing and to avoid all unnecessary travel. The situation has had many implications for the lives and social relations of people from all age groups.

“Due to these restrictions, people may have felt lonelier than before. As researchers, we are interested in whether this is the case, and how people have coped with the changes brought on by the pandemic,” Assistant Professor Elisa Tiilikainen from the University of Eastern Finland says.

The online survey, translated into multiple languages, collects data on people’s feelings of loneliness and isolation during the pandemic. The survey is open to respondents over 18 years of age.

“The study will offer important insight into the life and social relations of people from different parts of the world during the pandemic, and helps to understand the factors that make it easier for people to cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation. The study also makes it possible for researchers to examine the wider consequences of the pandemic on families, communities, services and societies.”

Earlier studies have shown that prolonged loneliness and social isolation are associated with various problems in health and well-being. Furthermore, studies carried out in Finland during the COVID-19 pandemic show that for some people, the state of emergency has increased their feelings of loneliness.

“International collaboration and data from different countries gives us more research-based knowledge on this topic. This also supports measures and decision-making that are geared towards reducing loneliness both on national and international levels.”

The survey in Finland is carried out in collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete the survey, and the survey is open to respondents over 18 years of age. The survey is available in multiple languages, including, e.g., English, Spanish and French.

The study is carried out by the International Loneliness and Isolation research NetworK, I-LINK. The study involves a total of 18 universities and organisations from seven countries. In addition to the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki, the partners include: The Institute of Public Health, Ulster University, Trinity College Dublin, Maynooth University, St James’s Hospital Dublin, Brunel University, Boston College, Columbia University, George Mason University, University of Auckland, Swansea University, Nipissing University, NORC at the University of Chicago, Brigham Young University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of California, San Francisco.

Link to the survey: https://survey.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9BLcilcWrL47EdT

More information is available at: http://www.publichealth.ie/clic

For further information, please contact:  Elisa Tiilikainen, tel. +358 50 413 4680, elisa.tiilikainen(at)uef.fi