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Research on Loneliness and Connection
What is this research about?
Young people aged 16-24 are disproportionately at risk of loneliness. Furthermore, previous research has identified that people with a disability or long-term health condition are nearly three times more likely to experience chronic loneliness. However, there are evidence gaps in how and why young disabled people experience loneliness, and what can be done to reduce it. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has commissioned the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and RSM UK Consulting (RSM) to explore:
● The factors that cause or exacerbate experiences of loneliness for disabled young people aged between 16-24;
● Impacts of loneliness on disabled young people;
● How these experiences of loneliness can be reduced;
● The ways in which disabled young people build social connections;
● Barriers and facilitators to reducing loneliness and building social connection.
This research will help to fill this evidence gap and contribute to work across government aiming to ensure that young disabled people have the resources and relationships that support them to flourish. This could include informing policies about digital inclusion, higher education, the Disability Action Plan and extracurricular activities.
Why have I been invited to take part?
We are interested in speaking to organisations who work with young people with disabilities or long-term health conditions, specifically those who:
● Support young disabled people experiencing loneliness; and/or
● Help young people with disabilities build social connections.
What would taking part involve?
● Taking part will involve an interview with an experienced researcher from RSM.
● It will last no longer than 60 minutes and take place over the phone or video call (using Microsoft Teams).
● It will be arranged at a suitable date and time for you between January and March 2024.
The interview will be tailored to your expertise, however, key discussion topics will include:
● Causes of loneliness among young people with disabilities or long-term health conditions, including barriers to building social connections;
● Impacts of loneliness;
● Experiences of supporting disabled young people reduce loneliness/build and maintain quality social connections and how this can be further enabled in the future.
There are no right or wrong answers. We are just interested in hearing what you think. Please note, we may not be able to include everyone who expresses an interest in taking part. We will let you know as soon as possible if we are able to include you.
Do I have to take part?
No, your participation in this project is entirely voluntary and if you agree to participate you are free to change your mind at any point prior to, during, and after the interview. During the interview, you are also free to not answer any questions you would prefer not to answer. Your participation or non-participation has no effect on you or your organisation.
What will happen to my information?
This research has been approved by NatCen’s Research Ethics Committee. With your consent, the interview will be audio and video recorded to keep an accurate record of the discussion. If you would prefer not to be video recorded, you can switch off your camera so that only audio will be captured on the recording. If you would prefer for us not to record the interview at all, we will draw on detailed notes instead. The recording will be typed up by a transcription company called McGowan, stored safely, and then deleted 12 months after the project is finished.
We will treat your information (e.g. contact details and interview notes) in the strictest confidence under the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Any information you give us will be stored safely and securely. All RSM staff use RSM laptops which are encrypted and all files containing personal data will be password protected.
The only people who will know that you have taken part or what you have said are people involved in the research. This includes the NatCen//RSM research team and organisations supporting the research (e.g. our transcribers, McGowan transcriptions). We never pass on your details to other organisations for any other reason. The only exception is if you tell us that you or someone else is at immediate risk of harm. In this situation, we would always try to discuss this with you first before speaking with anyone.
The findings from the interviews will be used to inform the next stages of the research project and insights will be included in a final report for DCMS. Findings will be written up anonymously, however, due to the small number of stakeholders involved DCMS may know which organisations have taken part. We will also use anonymous quotes from the interviews in our report. The final report will be publicly available on the gov.uk website. If you would like
more information about how the data will be used, we can send you a link to the Taking part webpage.
What do I need to do next?
Please indicate your agreement to participate in this research by replying to the RSM invitation email. By doing so you are consenting to take part in this research and confirming that you have read and understood this information sheet.
If you have any practical questions about the research or would like to discuss taking part, please contact the research manager – Michael Greig, RSM UK Consulting LLP.
Email: [email protected] Telephone: +44 28 9023 4343
Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead
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