Graduation Date

5-2022

Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree

Bachelor of Arts

Primary Major

Communication and Media Studies

Program Director

Bradley Van Alstyne, PhD

Thesis Advisor

Bradley Van Alstyne, PhD

Abstract

I am no stranger to social isolation and its effects on my mental, emotional and physical health. A variety of factors such as limited research, misconceptions associated with its impact mainly in older adults, and its interchangeability with loneliness, previously impeded people’s knowledge and understanding of the subject. This research paper is a hybrid of personal experiences as well as quantitative and qualitative data that analyzed how the restrictions shed light on the effects and misconceptions of social isolation, especially in the disabled community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Females and males survey participants (N- 68) were asked to report their level of knowledge and experience with social isolation both before and after the implementation of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, mask and social distance mandates, while interview participants (N-3) provided first-hand accounts on how the coronavirus pandemic socially impacted people on an individual level within the medical and disabled communities. Results highlighted (1) new awareness and understanding of social isolation, (2) the inaccuracy of the misconception that only older adults are affected by social isolation, (3) exacerbated how those medically compromised are perceived as expendable, and (4) an increase in physical and emotional effects resulting from social isolation. Ultimately, the risks and consequences associated with the social isolation experienced during these last two years have been profound and far-reaching, yet further research and resources dedicated to this issue is needed to better understand the long-lasting impact of social isolation on our society as a whole.

Comments

As part of my research I created a website and podcast series that explores the impact of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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