© 2020

Exploring Student Loneliness in Higher Education

A Discursive Psychology Approach


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Lee Oakley
    Pages 27-57
  3. Lee Oakley
    Pages 59-109
  4. Lee Oakley
    Pages 111-143
  5. Lee Oakley
    Pages 145-176
  6. Lee Oakley
    Pages 177-182
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 183-185

About this book


This book is an in-depth qualitative linguistic study of loneliness disclosures in interviews with undergraduate students in the UK. While much loneliness research has been undertaken in the areas of psychology, social policy and education, such studies have prioritised the social factors behind mental distress without paying explicit attention to the medium in which such distress is communicated and embodied (i.e. language). This monograph supplements this growing body of work by arguing for a stronger focus on the insights which linguistic analysis can provide for investigating how and why loneliness is disclosed by Higher Education students. This book is the first study to address discourses of loneliness in Higher Education specifically from a linguistic perspective, and will be of interest to education and healthcare professionals, counselling and welfare providers, and students and scholars of discourse analysis and linguistics. 

Lee Oakley is a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Portsmouth, UK.


health communication mental health narrative metaphor semantic prosody thematic analysis home students international students university discourse medical humanities welfare policy counselling

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of PortsmouthPortsmouthUK

About the authors

Lee Oakley is a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Portsmouth, UK.

Bibliographic information


“In this very timely and topical book, the author breaks with the dominant quantitative paradigm in order to focus on the detail of narrated experience of loneliness.” (Dariusz Galasinski, Professor of Discourse and Cultural Studies, University of Wolverhampton, UK)

“A timely and important work, providing sensitive and perceptive analysis into a long-neglected challenge facing students in UK higher education today. Highly recommended reading for all who seek a greater understanding of their students' experiences.” (Sarah Turner, Lecturer in English (Stylistics), Coventry University, UK)