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Faculty Mentor

Devin Carpenter


When considering global health issues, physical illnesses are often regarded as the most pressing threats. However, a growing body of research indicates that loneliness poses significant risk to global wellbeing. A worldwide study conducted by Gallup and Meta found that one in four people report feeling at least some loneliness on a day-to-day basis. Loneliness is not only pervasive, but is thought to actively harm holistic wellbeing. United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy has argued that chronic loneliness is “as detrimental to our physical health as smoking fifteen cigarettes per day.” While no age group is immune, the elderly and young adults are especially susceptible to loneliness. The elderly are frequently isolated due to health issues and financial barriers presented by old age. Insight from Missoula Aging Services also indicates that ageism may contribute to perceived loneliness among aging adults. Culture influences loneliness, and cultural values and practices regarding community influence individuals’ level of social connection. Considering the interconnected nature of loneliness, aging, and culture, our research investigates the impact of loneliness interventions through intergenerational connections. The literature demonstrates that loneliness interventions centered on group activities and learning experiences successfully reduced short term loneliness. As such, we partnered with Missoula Aging Services to hold three events at local senior residences. These consisted of a focus group, in which we facilitated conversations around loneliness and aging, followed by an intergenerational trivia game which participants played together. We administered entry and exit surveys to gauge change in attitudes around loneliness and intergenerational friendship, with the end goal of encouraging members of our community to spend more time seeking connection with each other.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




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