Cognita joins University of Cambridge mental health study
Even before Covid-19 related social distancing measures, loneliness has been increasing in societies all around the world, particularly among young people in late adolescence and emerging adulthood. Yet, it is still unclear what habits and behaviours help lessen the negative effects of loneliness. Cognita is proud to be partnering with Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and her team at the University of Cambridge on an important study to investigate the mental health trajectories of adolescents and adults around the world during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Using a smartphone app, the study will collect both questionnaire data about mood and mental health, as well as anonymised data from the phone about what apps are being used (e.g. social media use, news consumption, gaming), movement and sleep.
During the study itself, which lasts approximately 8 weeks, Cognita and other student participants will receive a notification on their phone to report how they are feeling on a daily basis. In addition, at the beginning of the study and once every week, participants will be given more in-depth questions on their mental and physical health and their behaviours. To probe short-term effects of mood, there will also be small ‘bursts’ of data collection on up to 10 days during the study period, where participants will be asked about mood up to 6 times during a single day.
By tracking individual fluctuations in mental health and linking these to different behavioural and digital profiles, the study will also be able to rapidly identify what behaviours might mitigate the negative effects of loneliness during social distancing for different age groups.
This will have wide-reaching implications and potential translational impact: the longitudinal data collected will help shed light on many crucial questions concerning the effects of social distancing and loneliness on mental health, while the smartphone data will help identify which technology uses may provide benefits, and which may be risk factors for different age groups.