Learning Minds

What helps against loneliness?

What do you do to feel less lonely? Loneliness has been increasing in societies all around the world, even before COVID-19 related social distancing measures were introduced. More troubling is, while young people in late adolescence and emerging adulthood are particularly at risk, we still know very little about how social distancing affects loneliness.

To find out what helps combat loneliness, Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and her team from the University of Cambridge are investigating the ups and downs of people all over the world in different age groups. The CAM-APP team is looking for students to participate in a study about their mood and mental health. A smartphone app called EARS will collect anonymized data from volunteer students. EARS uses sensors already gathering data in our phones such as time spent online, movement, and sleep patterns, as well as asking participants questions about their mood.   

The research goal is to track individual fluctuations in mental health and link these to the different ways we behave. The CAM-APP team then hopes to use this information to rapidly identify which behaviors help us feel less lonely.

School networks participating in the study:

The Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA)
Based on the African continent since inception in 1969, the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) has been developing and delivering strategic programmes that support and advance professional growth, good governance, strategic thinking and wellbeing in member schools for over 50- years; the ultimate goal is the transformation and improvement of student learning, celebrating excellence and innovation from Africa.

Launched in 2004, Cognita is an extraordinary family of diverse yet connected schools that span 12 countries and share one common purpose: to create an inspiring world of education that builds self-belief and empowers individuals to succeed. With 85 schools in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, Cognita employs 10,000 teaching and support staff in the care and education of more than 58,000 students. Together, Cognita schools provide a uniquely global education that goes beyond grades to develop all-round academic excellence – equipping young people with the confidence and resourcefulness that prepares them to grow, thrive and find their success in a fast-changing world.

Founded in 1924, the Ecole Internationale de Genève (Ecolint) is the oldest international school in the world. A not-for-profit foundation, our mission is to educate students to be global citizens with the courage and capacity to create a just and joyful tomorrow together. We strive to prepare our students to be part of an international community based on mutual understanding, respect and shared humanitarian values. We are a fully inclusive school, welcoming over 4,400 students from 140 nationalities, who speak 80 mother tongues, making us the most diverse school on the planet. Spread across three impressive campuses, we offer French, English and dual language programmes, including the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, which was developed at Ecolint in the 1960s.

Find out more about EARS and the loneliness research through this video.

If you know students who would like to contribute to the research, find out more here.