Predicting student mental wellbeing and loneliness and the importance of digital skills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 forced a rapid migration to online education and many institutions will continue with some online education post-pandemic. Here, we examined digital capabilities, measuring abilities and confidence, which are critical for online learning. We also examined social identity and connectedness which may be impacted by online study and considered whether these factors, along with digital capabilities, predict variance in student mental wellbeing and loneliness. Data were collected from 417 students at a large London university during the first U.K. lockdown. Students showed high digital abilities and confidence but there were individual differences in some digital domains determined, in part, by demographic and study factors. A significant proportion of variance in loneliness ratings could be explained by demographic factors, connection to the university and digital confidence. Significant predictors of wellbeing included loneliness, digital confidence, connectedness, social identity and a suitable study space. Based on these results we suggest that universities should consider how to improve digital confidence and ensure access to study spaces to support students in future online learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1053
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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