The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults’ social habits and loneliness

Study Description

Social isolation and loneliness can affect an individual’s health (House et al., 1988) and have been shown to be potentially more predictive of morbidity than smoking (Pantell et al., 2013). Causes of social isolation and loneliness range from personality (Cacioppo et al., 2011) to demographic characteristics (Cornwell & Waite, 2009; Miyawaki, 2015). However, no studies to our knowledge have been able to assess how social isolation and loneliness manifest during public health pandemics despite clear rationale for “social recessions” to take place (Klein, 2020). 

In the ‘new normal’ of the pandemic, our study pays particular attention to how older adults are adjusting to self-isolation and whether technology is aiding that process. In doing so, our study aims to provide new context to care of older populations during pandemics that moves beyond their physical health, incorporating the toll that loneliness, isolating, and related anxieties may inflict. 

Eligibility Criteria

You are eligible to participate if:

  • You are 65 or over (turning 65 this year)
  • You live in Toronto
  • You are not seeking treatment for COVID-19
  • You speak and understand English

Duration & Compensation

The survey and interview will take roughly 45 minutes over the phone. You will be compensated with a $10 gift card for you time. You might also be eligible to participate in a follow-up study for an additional $50 gift card. 

Interested in Participating?

If you want to participate in this study, you can sign up below. By signing up you agree to be contacted by a research member of our team, but you do not commit to participating in the study. You can decline your participation at any time.

Primary Investigator & Ethical Approval 

This study is conducted by Dr. Michael Widener. If you have questions about the study, please contact:

This study has been approved by the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board.