We would like to know your thoughts on physical distancing, social media, well being, and online education during COVID-19.



We would like to know your thoughts on physical distancing, social media, well being, and online education during COVID-19.



We would like to know your thoughts on physical distancing, social media, well being, and online education during COVID-19.



We would like to know your thoughts on physical distancing, social media, well being, and online education during COVID-19.

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About this Study

In this study, our goal is to learn about factors that affect the health and well-being of young people during COVID-19.

For example:

  • How do your perceptions of social distancing, your social connections with others, and your use of social media relate to your well-being?
  • If you’re a student, what are your thoughts about online learning during the pandemic?
  • Are you satisfied or concerned about online learning?
  • Have you experienced any challenges?
  • What is the relation between your body composition and physical distancing from others?
  • Are answers to these questions the same or different for people of different ages, races, ethnicities, genders and personalities?

Invitation to Participate

You are invited to participate in the iBelong2 research study; a study that includes 3 online surveys regarding adolescents and young adults’ use of social media and their perceptions of social connectedness, social distancing, health/wellbeing, and education during COVID-19. These surveys will take place from now until September 7, 2020 (Survey 1), between October and December, 2020 (Survey 2), and between July and August, 2021 (Survey 3).


Mental Health Resources

Thank you for your interest in participating in the iBelong2 research study. While we (the Investigators) do not foresee any potential risks associated with filling out the following online survey, we acknowledge that answering some questions (for example, those related to anxiety, depression, and social relationships) might elicit difficult or negative thoughts and emotions in some individuals. The following is a list of mental health support services, as well as COVID-19-specific resources, available to young people across Ontario.

First and foremost, if you are in an emergency situation or in immediate danger, please call 911, or go to nearest hospital/emergency department.

Provincial Mental Health Support Services:
Ontario adolescents and young adults seeking help regarding mental health
concerns can use these free Ontario mental health resources:

Government of Ontario – Find Mental Health Support:
*Follow the link to find online resources or call to find resources in your
Phone: Call 211 or 1 877 330 3213

Kids Help Phone (ages 5 – 20):
Phone: 1 800 668 6868
Text CONNECT to 686868
Social media(s): @KidsHelpPhone

Good2Talk (ages 17 – 25):
Phone: 1 866 925 5454
Text GOOD2TALKON to 686868
Social media(s): @good2talk

ConnexOntario Helpline:
Phone: 1 866 531 2600
Find the ConnexOntario App in the Apple or Google Play Store

Hope for Wellness Helpline:
*Offers immediate mental health counselling for all Indigenous peoples:
Phone: 1 855 242 3310

COVID-19 Mental Health Resources:
Ontario adolescents and young adults seeking information and/or assistance
regarding COVID-19 and mental health concerns can also access these free

Government of Canada – Mental Health and COVID-19:

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – The COVID-19 Pandemic:
Phone: 1 800 463 2338
Social media(s): @CAMHnews
Find the CAMH App in the Apple or Google Play Store

Crisis Services Canada – COVID-19 Resources:
Phone: 1-833-456-4566
Text: 45645
Social media(s): @CrisisCanada

Meet the Team

Dr. Shauna Burke & the iBelong2 research team @WesternU, @HuronCollege, @KingsCollege & @LakeheadU are exploring physical distancing and social wellbeing among young people in Ontario.

Dr. Shauna Burke

Dr. Shauna Burke is the Principal Investigator of the iBelong program of research, and an Associate Professor in the School of Health Studies at Western University.

Dr. Burke has published numerous research articles and book chapters in the areas of health promotion, childhood obesity, group dynamics, and exercise psychology, and co-authors a widely used Canadian health textbook. Dr. Burke is also an award-winning instructor, having taught numerous health-related courses at Western University since 2006. She also supervises graduate students, most of whom study child, adolescent, and/or family health.

Dr. Burke’s current research interests include the promotion of health and wellbeing among young people, with a specific focus on social connectedness (online and offline), social media, and physical, social, and mental health. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Burke and the iBelong research team are also interested in how public health recommendations, such as physical distancing, impact youth and adolescents’ perceptions of connectedness and wellbeing.

Dr. Jennifer Irwin

Dr. Jennifer Irwin is a health behaviourist and Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western University. She is a multi-award-winning teacher at the Faculty, University, and Provincial levels and a widely published researcher. She is passionate about kindness, collaboration, and each of us doing our part to support one another. Her research focuses primarily on the application of motivational interviewing and coaching on health-related behaviours, including obesity prevention and treatment, tobacco cessation, stress management, and the promotion of physical activity and healthy dietary intake behaviours.

Dr. Trish Tucker

Dr. Trish Tucker is an Associate Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy and the Director of the Child Health & Physical Activity Lab at Western University. Dr. Tucker’s expertise are in the broad areas of health promotion, physical activity, and childhood obesity prevention. Her primary area of research is the measurement and promotion of physical activity with a particular focus on preschool-aged children.

Ms. Nerida Koert van der Linden

Nerida is a PhD student in the field of Health Promotion at Western University and is the program coordinator for iBelong2. Prior to Western, Nerida graduated from Lakehead University's Master of Science in Kinesiology program in 2019, and completed her undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa in 2016. Nerida's research interests lie in preventative health, physical activity, group dynamics, health and wellbeing, and community-based health promotion. It is her goal to explore physical distancing, self-reported health behaviours, and wellbeing among young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Olivia Holmes

Olivia is a first-year Masters student in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program at Western University. She recently graduated with honours from the Child Health program at Brock University and is now conducting research in the field of Health Promotion at Western. Olivia is a successful recipient of a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship for 2020-2021. Working under the direction of Dr. Shauna Burke, her thesis project will explore Ontario university students’ perceptions of social media use and social connectedness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Tara Dumas

Dr. Tara Dumas is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Huron University College. She studies social development in adolescence and emerging adulthood, and is particularly interested in how the peer context shapes young people’s attitudes and behaviours. Her social networking site research largely examines predictors and outcomes of young people’s risky online behaviour including deceptive like-seeking (i.e., behaviours to secure online attention in the form of likes, e.g., buying followers), engagement in risky online challenges, and posting of substance use-related content.

Dr. Jason Gilliland

Dr. Jason Gilliland is Director of the Urban Development Program and Professor in the Department of Geography, School of Health Studies, Department of Paediatrics, and Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at Western University. Dr. Gilliland is a Scientist with the Children’s Health Research Institute and was recently named the Children’s Health Foundation Scientist of the Year for his work on identifying and removing barriers to children’s physical activity. He is also Director of the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory, a multi-disciplinary research and training centre which develops and connects highly-skilled researchers to create, disseminate, and mobilize knowledge for making healthy, thriving communities.

Dr. Lynne Zarbatany

Dr. Lynne Zarbatany is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Western University. She has published work on a range of topics related to peer relationships including peer group processes, gender differences, and childhood behaviour disorders. Her current research interests include studying how friendships and peer groups affect children’s psychological adjustment and behaviour.

Dr. Lorie Donelle

Dr. Lorie Donelle, is an Associate Professor at Western University in the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing and a Scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute in London Ontario. She holds an endowed research chair - the Arthur Labatt Family Chair in Nursing focused on digital health. Dr. Donelle’s research addresses issues of health literacy, social justice, and digital health. Her research investigates technology enabled models of homecare and the relationships between health information technologies and client / clinician health practices. Dr. Donelle sits on International (World Health Organization) and national advisory committees for health literacy and digital health.

Dr. Wendy Ellis

Wendy Ellis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at King's University College. Dr. Ellis’ research interests span a range of topics related to social development in childhood and adolescence. Dr. Ellis has conducted research on social media, cyber dating aggression, popularity and bullying. Her early research focus has been on group influence and documenting the processes through which children’s groups influence their members in both positive and negative domains.

Dr. Erin Pearson

Dr. Erin Pearson is an Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Lakehead University and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. Her research broadly focuses on health promotion and lifestyle behaviour change in various populations. Her specific interests include: 1) community-based health promotion in children, youth, and families from psychological and behavioural perspectives; 2) evaluating the utility of Co-Active coaching/motivational interviewing as strategies to promote health, wellness, and/or weight management in at-risk populations; and 3) theoretically grounded behaviour change interventions.

Ms. Maram Omar

Maram is a first-year Master’s student in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program at Western University. She recently received her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree from Western University, with honors specializing in Rehabilitation Sciences. Maram’s current research interest is in the Health Promotion field, specifically looking at promoting child health. She is now conducting research under the supervision of Dr. Shauna Burke. Her research project involves exploring university students’ self-reported internet usage, risks, and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Julie Vo

Julie is a first-year Master’s student in the Health and Rehabilitation program at Western University. She is a recent graduate from the Honours Life Sciences program at McMaster University with specific research interests in knowledge translation and health promotion. Under the guidance of Dr. Shauna Burke, her research project focuses on the development of an evidence-based social media campaign designed to enhance social connectedness among first-year university students.

Ms. Hannah Litchfield

Hannah is a PhD student in the faculty of Health and Rehabilitation Science at Western University. She completed Master of Management of Applied Sciences degree, specializing in Global Health Systems, this past year, prior to which she completed her undergraduate degree at Western in the faculty of Health Sciences. Hannah is a certified Project Manager, working with the Project Management Institute of Southwestern Ontario as their Professional Development Team Lead and is currently completing her PMP (Project Management Professional) credential through the Project Management Institute. She works as a Health and Wellness Specialist and Project Manager at Participation House Support Services (PHSS) in London, Ontario and is passionate about incorporating inclusive and accessible ``fun`` into wellness-related programming. Hannah's research interests lie in nutrition, mental health, EDID, and belonging among youth in low- and middle-income countries. She hopes to partner with The Africa Institute at Western throughout the course of her doctoral degree and explore belonging in diverse global contexts.


If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant or the conduct of this study, you may contact The Office of Human Research Ethics (519) 661-3036, 1-844-720-9816, e-mail: This office oversees the ethical conduct of research studies and is not part of the research team. Discussions with the Office of Human Research Ethics will be kept confidential.

For further information regarding this research project or your participation in the study, you may contact the Program Coordinator, Ms. Nerida K. van der Linden (, or the Principal Investigator, Dr. Shauna Burke ( You may also reach the iBelong research team by filling out the contact form on this page.

For updates about iBelong please find us on:

Twitter: @iBelongStudy
Instagram: @ibelongstudy
Facebook: iBelongStudy
LinkedIn: iBelongStudy