Participants are needed for a new study into the role of the radios in combating loneliness and depression amongst older people.

In partnership with the Community Broadcasting Foundation, Dr Amanda Krause from The University of Melbourne is exploring older listeners’ radio listening practices, and how these might relate to their sense of well- being.

Many older people have restricted access to social contact and are highly vulnerable to a range of socio-emotional problems including loneliness and depression, making this research particularly important.

Existing research indicates that participating in music-making opportunities benefits include reducing depression and anxiety symptoms and offers opportunities for social interaction.

Dr Krause is keen to consider whether music listening can do the same. She has focused on the radio, because it is a very familiar, longstanding technology which offers people both information and entertainment.

Dr Krause says that preliminary findings from interviews she has conducted with Melbourne residents 65 years and older indicate that individuals define their ‘relationship’ with the radio in different ways.

“For some people the radio offers companionship – both by listening to music programs as well as to radio presenters. I am interested in people’s listening motivations, too.”

Some people spoke not only about their enjoyment from listening to the radio, but about consciously modifying their listening in efforts to improve their mood.

The current research will help understand how older listeners use the radio and how this can fight loneliness and depression.

“The project is very exciting because it has the real power to make changes in the community,” Dr Krause said.

“In the next phase, we’ll talk to radio personnel about their decisions on programming and how they might be able to positively influence their listeners’ well-being.”

People aged over 65 years can participate in the study by completing a short questionnaire online at http://bit.ly/cbfsurvey. Paper copies are also available upon request.

Participants who complete the survey have a chance to win one of four $50 Coles Group Myer gift cards.

For more information contact Dr Amanda Krause (03) 9035 6134 or email Amanda.Krause@unimelb.edu.au.