[Anglican Journal] Prayers and other expressions of gratitude may hold significant potential in making people feel less lonely, a small study by a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada suggests.
Last summer and fall, the Rev. Eric Partridge, rector at the Anglican Church of St. Andrew in Sidney, British Columbia, paired six research volunteers from the church’s pastoral care team with six senior parishioners. Team members measured both their own and the seniors’ levels of loneliness using an assessment system employed by loneliness researchers (the UCLA Loneliness Scale) as well as a “narrative” assessment based on conversation between the volunteers and seniors. Then they met six times over the next 14 weeks to perform gratitude practices together. When researchers and seniors were assessed again at the end of the 14 weeks, all of the seniors and some of the researchers showed reduced levels of loneliness. The study also assessed participants’ levels of gratitude before and after the 14 weeks, Partridge says, and found similar results.