CISS Practicum: Evaluating Effects of Individualism on Elderly Loneliness, Depression

July 26, 2022

Sydney Fontalvo, Master of Public Health (MPH) candidate at Mailman, will remain in Chile for three months to research the mediation effect of different countries’ levels of individualism on older adult loneliness and depressive symptoms.

The project will be a cross-country analysis using data from European, Asian, North, and South American countries to see how the individual perspective on loneliness and mental health can be affected by the country's individualism, according to Fontalvo, who is one of the five graduate students from the Mailman School of Public Health that are in Chile to perform their global practicums with Universidad Mayor’s Research Center on Society and Health (CISS). For her project, she will work with CISS professor Antonia Díaz-Valdés.

“I came from a background of the Social Sciences, so I really enjoy looking at topics like aging, mental health, and chronic diseases with a broad, social science-based lens,” says Fontalvo. “I have wanted to work on aging projects related to mental health since my undergraduate studies at NYU Shanghai. Global aging is a pressing issue that will continue to become more apparent as the years go by. Projects like this are important for public health, sociology, and other social science research to move forward in the field of aging.”

In her spare time, she loves to exercise, and in Santiago, she has taken up spin classes, cross fit, and salsa and house dance classes, with an eye on learning Chile’s national dance, the cueca, and on finding a group with which to play soccer.