Prof. Dr. Dirk Scheele 

Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, GERMANY
Jul 2021 - Jul 2022
Associate Junior Fellow

Dirk Scheele

Projekte & Publikationen

With economic lockdown and social distancing in place in most countries around the world,
COVID-19 is expected to have a vast impact on physical and mental health, particularly in
people inflicted by poor resilience to social adversity due to pre-existing low levels of social
integration. In recent years, perceived social isolation has come into focus of politics and
clinicians as a major public health concern with high economic costs for society and a
premature mortality risk comparable with smoking or obesity. The planned workshop will
address this issue and will feature talks covering both basic research and clinical interventions.
Specifically, the workshop will consist of four parts that focus on (i) the prevalence of and risk
factors for loneliness, (ii) the neural and hormonal mechanisms of loneliness, (iii) clinical
implications of social isolation and loneliness, and (iv) behavioral and pharmacological
interventions to reduce loneliness. Each topic will be introduced by 1-2 key note lectures,
which will be followed by practical sessions with 4-6 shorter presentations of junior
researchers. All speakers will be encouraged to indicate publicly available data sets which can
be used to initiate a research consortium. The proximate goal of the workshop is to publish a
systematic review that will give an overview of state-of-the-art methods and identify open
questions for a better understanding and treatment of social isolation and loneliness.