Loneliness and Complex Emotional Needs (CEN)

Exploring Loneliness among people with 'Complex Emotional Needs' (CEN) aims to explore experiences of loneliness and what factors reduce or worsen feelings of loneliness among people with CEN.

What are we interested in?

Loneliness is a painful emotional state characterised by a gap between the quality and quantity of the social relationship we have and those that we desire to have. The research evidence has demonstrated the centrality of loneliness in the day to day lives of people with 'Complex Emotional Needs' (CEN) or a 'Personality Disorder'. The evidence also indicates that the levels and intensity of loneliness among people with CEN is higher than those with mental health conditions. A sense of belongingness, described as a feeling of unity and inclusivity in which one feels understood and safe, improves recovery outcomes among people with CEN. Given the adverse effects of loneliness and the importance of positive relationships in recovery, a clear need for a co-produced qualitative study exploring the experiences of loneliness and potential acceptable social and psychological approaches to reducing loneliness is needed to inform future intervention development.

What does the study involve?

In this study we are interviewing people aged 18 or older who self-identify as having ‘complex emotional needs’ or a ‘personality disorder’. This will help provide an understanding of loneliness in the lives of people with “complex emotional needs”. To be able to take part in this study you must:

  1. Be diagnosed or self-identify as having either traits or a diagnosis of ‘complex emotional needs’ or ‘personality disorder’
  2. Identify as ethnic minority and/or sexual minority
  3. Have experienced feelings of social disconnection and loneliness
  4. Be 18 years of age or over
  5. Be located within the UK 
  6. Speak fluent English.

This study will be actively recruiting participants from a range of ethnicities, sexualities, age groups, and genders to target groups who are far underrepresented in research

The researcher and interested participant will arrange an interview via Microsoft Teams at a convenient time. The interview will last approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. The consent form will be sent to you before the interview to read through on your own time and pace. 

What will happen to the results of this project?

The study results will be published in a relevant journal and presented within the PhD researchers thesis. The findings will also be presented at relevant research meetings. You will not be identified in any publication however we may publish direct quotations that are anonymized. The data gathered in this study will be stored securely on password protected folders within UCLs secure online system. This paper will also be summarised in a short blog and published on Mental Elf, a website that promotes accessibility of research material. You may also be sent a summary report of the study findings prior to publication- please let the researcher know if this were something you would like.

This PhD project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and has received ethical approval by the UCL REC 23645/001.

If you are interested in being involved in this study, click here to download more project information.

Who do I need to contact if I am interested in getting involved?

If you are interested in participating in this study or would like more information, please email a member of the research team using the details below:

Researcher: Sarah Ikhtabi