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The Loneliness Crisis and the Decline of Free Play: Pathways and Effects

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • SSHRC Awarded IG 2016: This study will break new ground in the study of how the social environment matters for parenting, and potentially shed light on root social causes of social, emotional and behavioral problems in children and youth.Over the past few decades, Canada, like other post-industrial societies, has undergone a number of sweeping social, demographic and economic changes which have transformed the conditions of contemporary family life. Many parents are now struggling to meet the demands of a workplace that can reach out to them 24/7, care for children and ageing parents, and maintain satisfying social relationships. Consequently, chronic loneliness is widespread. The implications of chronic loneliness for parents and children, including parents of children with disabilities who are particularly vulnerable to loneliness, may be far-reaching. This study will investigate the intriguing possibility that a rise in the prevalence of loneliness among parents of children with and without disabilities may have contributed to the decline of free and 'risky' (i.e., physically & socially challenging) outdoor play, and portend a rise in the prevalence of social-emotional problems among children and youth.

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    Research Material
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    © McConnell, David. All rights reserved other than by permission. This document embargoed to those without UAlberta CCID until 2020.