Pamela Qualter (online)
Children’s Experiences of Loneliness
In this talk, I will discuss why social relationships matter for us throughout life, highlighting how we need others for survival and how our lives are enhanced through our close bonds with others. I will show that even young children have a clear understanding of loneliness, offering appropriate definitions linked to loss, temporary absence, and psychological disconnection; they also have clear ways of coping with loneliness. I will discuss the importance of different aspects of loneliness, raising issues of measurement of loneliness, which are now the most challenging questions we need to address. I will also discuss interventions designed for lonely youth, and how the voices of young people need to be integrated during co-designed intervention development.
Pamela Qualter is Professor of Psychology for Education at The University of Manchester since 2017. Her research explores social and emotional skills within education and child and adolescent peer relationships, including their experiences of loneliness and its impact on mental and physical health and social functioning. She has developed and managed a number of longitudinal studies on that topic. She led the BBC Loneliness Experiment, the world’s largest survey of loneliness.