IPH performs a secretariat function for I-LINK. Email: ILINK@publichealth.ie

Aim of I-LINK

The purpose of I-LINK is to help facilitate the sharing of knowledge and developments in the field of loneliness and isolation as well as the building of international connections.

Eligible members will be active researchers working in the field.

Goal of I-LINK

The goal of I-LINK is to increase society’s ability through international collaboration to respond to loneliness throughout the life cycle by facilitating the sharing of knowledge and building of connections that will help improve the quality of research, policy, practice and overall understanding of loneliness. The group is chaired by Prof Linda Fried.

Loneliness resources

Welsh Government

Selected presentations: Loneliness in Later Life: Interventions – what works?: 5-7th December 2018, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) and the Bamford Centre for Mental Health & Wellbeing at Ulster University co-hosted an international seminar on loneliness in December 2018.

Day 1

Loneliness – a UK Perspective – what we know, what we think we know and what we don’t know: Prof Christina Victor Brunel University London: Presentation

Loneliness in Ireland and the Irish Migrants: Prof Gerry Leavey – Ulster University Presentation

Loneliness in the Netherlands: Prof Theo van Tilburg – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: Presentation

Isolation and Loneliness – a US Perspective : Prof Jim Lubben  – Boston College: Presentation

Day 2

Opening address: Eddie Lynch  – Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland: Presentation

The Complexity of Loneliness in Later Life: Addressing the Issues: Prof Vanessa Burholt – Swansea University: Presentation

A national response to loneliness and improving the health and  wellbeing of older and vulnerable adults in Ireland: Sean Moynihan – ALONE: Presentation

A model for addressing loneliness, isolation and improving health and wellbeing among men: Barry Sheridan – Men’s Sheds: Presentation

Loneliness in later life  –  public health responses: Sarah Reid – Public Health Agency: Presentation

The Role of the Health Professional in Loneliness Assessments: Prof Carla Perissinotto – University of California: Presentation

Campaign to end loneliness: learning for research, policy and practice: Fiona Murphy – Campaign to end loneliness: Presentation

Designing a new social infrastructure for 21st century needs: Prof Linda Fried – Columbia University: Presentation

Day 3

A clinical experience of loneliness – reflections on learning: Dr Jeannette GoldenMercers Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA): Presentation

A public health approach to loneliness?: Prof Thomas Prohaska – George Mason University: Presentation

List of the most common scales for loneliness and isolation

Name of scale Format e.g.  number of questions /type of questions Comments Web link


The UCLA Loneliness scale (Russell, Peplau, Cutrona, 1980; Russell, 1996) 20-items

Negative phrasing

Widely used


ULCA 3-item revised version (Hughes, Waite, Hawkley, & Cacioppo, 2004) 3-items

All 3-items negatively phrased.


Widely used

Most commonly used format of UCLA

The De Jong Gierveld 11-item loneliness scale (De Jong Gierveld and Kamphuis 1985) 11-items (subscale…)

No direct mention of loneliness. Five positively phrased and six negatively phrased items.

Developed to measure the severity of feelings of loneliness.

Assess overall and social and emotional loneliness through subscales

Widely used

The De Jong Gierveld 6-item loneliness scale (De Jong Gierveld and Van Tilburg 1999; De Jong Gierveld and Van Tilburg 2010) 6-items (subscale)

No direct mention of loneliness.

Three positively phrase and three negatively phrased items.

Assess overall and social and emotional loneliness through subscales


Widely used

The Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults (SELSA) (DiTommaso, Spinner et al. 1993) 37-items Distinguishes between social and emotional loneliness and further distinguishes two domains of emotional loneliness, (family and romantic).


Less widely used

The Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults (SELSA) (DiTommaso, Brannen-McNulty et al. 2003)

15-item revised version

15-items Distinguishes between social and emotional loneliness and further distinguishes two domains of emotional loneliness, (family and romantic)

Less widely used

The Campaign to End Loneliness Measurement tool (CEL 2015) 3-items

Developed particularly for services rather than researchers.

No direct mention of loneliness.

All questions positively worded.

Short and easy to use

Sensitively worded

Developed through extensive research and consultation and designed to be as inclusive and widely useful as possible

Not yet been as rigorously academically evaluated


Social Isolation

The Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS) (Lubben & Gironda 2003): 12-item and short 6-item version. Widely used

Established validity and reliability

The Berkman-Syme Social Network Index (SNI) (Berkman & Syme 1979) assesses participation in 12 types of social relationships. These include relationships with a spouse, parents, parents-in-law, children, other close family members, close neighbours, friends, workmates, schoolmates, fellow volunteers, members of groups without religious affiliation, and religious groups. Widely used

Established validity and reliability

The Duke Social Support Index (DSSI) – 10 item scale

The 35-item Duke Social Support Index (DSSI) measures multiple dimensions of social support

Social Disconnectedness – 8-item scale (Cornwell and Waite, 2009) Social Disconnectedness – 8-item scale (e.g., small social network, infrequent participation in social activities) (Cornwell and Waite, 2009) authors also include Perceived Isolation Scale); Acceptable internal consistency demonstrated http://bit.ly/2DKr40z

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