Led by Dr Michelle Lim, the Social Health and Wellbeing (SHAW) Laboratory was set up to understand how loneliness and a lack of meaningful social connections influence our health — specifically our social, psychological and physical health. 

Our team is currently evaluating the efficacy, feasibility and accessibility of digital platforms for reducing loneliness in young people. We're also involved in leading research projects around how loneliness influences online communication behaviors, cardiovascular health and friendship/romantic relationship formation. 

We led the 2018 Australian Loneliness Report and the 2019 Young Australian Loneliness Survey. Dr Lim is the scientific chair of the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness and part of Swinburne’s Centre for Mental Health.

Health and wellbeing survey: Monitoring the impact of COVID-19

Social isolation and loneliness are consequences of the current COVID-19 pandemic. In order to keep ourselves and others physically safe from the virus, we’re having to change how we interact with each other. But what is the impact of social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine on our health, psychological wellbeing and relationships? ‌

We’re looking for participants to undertake surveys to help answer these questions. Ideally participants will undertake three surveys, released 6–8 weeks apart. If participants are unable to complete all three surveys, we encourage people to still participate in one or two surveys.

Survey one is now open and consists of three parts: 

  1. Who are you?

  2. How do you feel, live and relate to others? 

  3. How has COVID-19 affected you? 

The survey can be completed in the comfort of your own home and will take roughly 30 minutes.

Take part in the survey now

Want to find out more about what we’ve discovered so far? Download a summary of our findings to date.

Note: This is an ongoing research project and we will be updating this document periodically.

Loneliness and COVID19 (updated 17 July 2020) [PDF 3.06MB]

If you have any questions about these surveys please contact the research team at shaw@swinburne.edu.au

Our team

Name Position
Dr Michelle Lim Head of SHAW Laboratory; Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist 
Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Dr Robert Eres Postdoctoral Research Fellow 
Ms Lily Thurston Senior Research Assistant
Ms Shradha Vasan PhD candidate 
Dr Brendan Munzel Master of Psychology candidate
Ms Taylah Argent Professional Placement Student 

Our research strands

Loneliness is a growing public health issue that negatively contributes to poorer social, mental and physical health. In these projects, we’re particularly interested in investigating the influence of loneliness on mental health indicators, such as depression and social anxiety, and physical health indicators, such as heart functioning outcomes.

The main aim of this research strand is to understand the drivers of loneliness in older adults and how interventions can be developed to prevent and address loneliness in older age.

The main aim of this research strand is to understand how adolescents and young people experience loneliness as well as identifying the factors that contribute to this experience.

These projects use an established intervention to reduce loneliness in young people diagnosed with a mental illness. There’s a specific focus on young people with psychosis, major depressive disorder and social anxiety disorder.

Loneliness is increasingly acknowledged to be a growing public health problem that can negatively affect one’s social, mental and physical health. Research in this area is being conducted to clarify our understanding of loneliness, social internet use, health behaviors and wellbeing in young adults aged 18–25. There’s increased importance in being able to track the developmental trajectory of this phenomenon.

Almost all young people are competent smartphone users, meaning smartphone applications may be a useful tool to help them build more meaningful social relationships. Our smartphone application Peer Tree helps show young people how to build strong, meaningful relationships using a strengths-based approach.

SHAW Laboratory news

Previous survey prize draw terms and conditions

Method of entry

Entry is open to respondents of the longitudinal Survey of Australian Wellbeing (SAW) Study: Mapping Australian’s relationships, health and wellbeing over time. The study involves three surveys, completed at different time points. To be included in the prize draw, respondents must complete at least one survey and provide their contact details. Entry is only open to Australian residents, 18 years or older.

The first online survey is accessible online. Subsequent surveys will be emailed directly to respondents of the first survey. 

Duration of entry period

The total entry period for inclusion in the prize draw is from survey launch at 29 May 2018 to 11.59pm AEST on 17 November 2019.

Three prize draws will occur during this period, with the following schedule:

  • Entry into Prize Draw #1 is open to all those who complete survey 1 of the SAW survey online by 11.59pm AEST on 30 June 2019.

  • Entry into Prize Draw #2 is open to all those who complete survey 2 of the SAW survey online by 11.59pm AEST on 8 September 2019.

  • Entry into Prize Draw #3 is open to all those who complete survey 3 of the SAW survey online by 11.59pm AEST on 17 November 2019.
     

Details of the prizes and prize values
  • In Prize Draw #1 the first 10 entries drawn will receive a $50 GiftPay Flexi eGift Card.

  • In Prize Draw #2 the first 10 entries drawn will receive a $100 GiftPay Flexi eGift Card. 

  • In Prize Draw #3 the first 10 entries drawn will receive a $150 GiftPay Flexi eGift Card.

The total value of the prize pool is $3,000.

Date, time and place of draw

The Prize Draw will be conducted with the following schedule:

  • Prize Draw #1: 1pm AEST on 1 July 2019

  • Prize Draw #2: 1pm AEST on 9 September 2019

  • Prize Draw #3: 1pm AEST on 18 November 2019

All draws from 1 July 2019 to 18 November 2019 will be conducted at John St, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Australia. Winners will be identified through a physical draw.

Publication of winner names

Winners will be notified by telephone or email. The names of all winners will be published here with the following schedule:

  • Prize Draw #1: 8 July 2019

  • Winners: Bladevero C, Claire D, Finn A, Malcolm S, KL J, Melissa L, Roxanne B, Gary P, Dianne S, Laidley J

  • Prize Draw #2: 16 September 2019

  • Winners: Lisa E, June H, Marleen L, Sarah S, Henry B, Kaela F, Millie S, Penny L, Lachlan M, David W

  • Prize Draw #3: 25 November 2019

  • Winners: Chloe L, Nicola G, Carol C, Stephen R, Deb C, Deb H, Isabel B, Carla C, Bryony M, Irena S.

Prizes will be delivered via email.

Unclaimed prize draw

If any prizes are unclaimed by 15 December 2019, an unclaimed prize draw will take place at 1pm on 16 December 2019 at John St, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Australia. The winners will be notified by email or telephone.

The Promoter is Swinburne University of Technology ABN 13 628 586 699 having its principal place of business at John St, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Australia.

Method of entry

Entry is open to respondents of the longitudinal Young Adult’s Social (YAS) Internet Use, Relationships and Health Behaviours Over Time survey. The study involves three surveys, completed at different time points. To be included in the prize draw, respondents must complete at least one survey and provide their contact details. Entry is only open to Australian residents, 18 years or older.

The first online survey is accessible online. Subsequent surveys will be emailed directly to respondents of the first survey.

Duration of entry period

The total entry period for inclusion in the prize draw is from survey launch at 1pm AEST on 9 May 2018 to 11.59pm AEST on 29 December 2019.

Three prize draws will occur during this period, with the following schedule:

  • Entry into Prize Draw #1 is open to all those who complete survey 1 the YAS survey online by 11.59pm AEST on 4 November 2018.

  • Entry into Prize Draw #2 is open to all those who complete survey 2 of the YAS survey online by 11.59pm AEST on 2 June 2019.

  • Entry into Prize Draw #3 is open to all those who complete survey 3 of the YAS survey online by 11.59pm AEST on 29 December 2019.
     

Details of the prizes and prize values
  • In Prize Draw #1 the first 10 entries drawn will receive a $50 GiftPay Flexi eGift Card.

  • In Prize Draw #2 the first 10 entries drawn will receive a $100 GiftPay Flexi eGift Card.

  • In Prize Draw #3 the first 10 entries drawn will receive a $150 GiftPay Flexi eGift Card.

The total value of the prize pool is $3,000.

Date, time and place of draw

The Prize Draw will be conducted with the following schedule:

  • Prize Draw #1: 1pm AEST on 5 November 2018

  • Prize Draw #2: 1pm AEST on 3 June 2019

  • Prize Draw #3: 1pm AEST on 6 January 2020

All draws from 5 November 2018 to 6 January 2020 will be conducted at John St, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Australia. Winners will be identified through a physical draw.

Publication of winner names

Winners will be notified by telephone or email and in writing. The names of all winners will be published here with the following schedule:

  • Prize Draw #1: 12 November 2018

  • Winners: Sarah P, Brooke W, Lisa-Marie J, Stacey R, Thomas S, Elana F, Shanice T, Angus B, Cody H, Elspeth RT

  • Prize Draw #2: 10 June 2019

  • Winners: Lucy S, Elysee L, Lauren B, Sophie W, Macadie H, Aimee R, Jessica N, Claudia V, Germaine W, Cody H

  • Prize Draw #3: 13 January 2020

  • Winners: Monique P, Phu L, Joshua D, Andrew H, Jacinta M, Chelsea D, Jordan T, Rebecca B, Giulia D, Ruby A

Prizes will be delivered via email.

Unclaimed prize draw

If any prizes are unclaimed by 26 January 2020, an unclaimed prize draw will take place at 1pm AEST on 27 January 2020 at John St, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Australia. The winners will be notified by email or telephone.

The Promoter is Swinburne University of Technology ABN 13 628 586 699 having its principal place of business at John St, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Australia.

What happens to my personal information if I participate in a survey?

In accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, any information collected from a participant in any of our research studies will be kept completely confidential. All information will be stored securely on Swinburne University of Technology servers and only accessible by the research staff labelled on the corresponding research ethics documentation. Each study has been approved by the local research ethics board at Swinburne University of Technology.

If you would like to learn more about the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, please visit the National Health and Medical Research Centre website

Contact the Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute

If your organisation is dealing with a complex problem that you’d like to collaborate on with us, or you simply want to contact our team, get in touch by calling +61 3 9214 8180 or emailing ihi@swinburne.edu.au.

Contact us