Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 561–577 | Cite as

Lonelines in pre-through late adolescence: Exploring the contributions of a multidimensional approach

  • Alfons Marcoen
  • Luc Goossens
  • Paul Caes


A multidimensional loneliness measure was administered to 444 subjects in the 11–17 age range. The four-scale instrument probes for loneliness in relationships with parents and peers, and for aversion to and affinity for aloneness. All subscales were shown to exhibit high reliability and excellent factorial validity. With regard to age effects, a marginally significant increase was found for parent-related loneliness, accompanied by a sudden drop at the seventh-grade level. A decreasing age trend emerged in both peer-related loneliness and aversion to aloneness. A set of variables pertaining to subjects' social integration (number of friends, quality of friendships) and psychological functioning (outlook on the future) accounted for a sizable portion of the variance in all four scales, particularly in peer-related loneliness. Implications of these findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are outlined.


Health Psychology School Psychology High Reliability Social Integration Psychological Functioning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Asher, S. R., Hymel, S., and Renshaw, P. D. (1984). Loneliness in children.Child Dev. 55: 1456–1464.Google Scholar
  2. Avery, A. (1982). Escaping loneliness in adolescence: The case for androgyny.J. Youth Adoles. 11: 451–459.Google Scholar
  3. Berndt, J. (1982). The features and effects of friendship in early adolescence.Child Dev. 53: 1447–1460.Google Scholar
  4. Blyth, D., and Serafica, F. C. (eds.) (1985). Contemporary approaches to firendship and peer relations in early adolescence (Special issue).J. Early Adoles. 5(3).Google Scholar
  5. Brennan, T. (1982). Loneliness at adolescence. In Peplau, L. A., and Perlman, D. (eds.),Loneliness: A Sourcebook of Current Research, Theory and Therapy, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Cooper, C. R., and Ayers-Lopez, S. (1985). Family and peer systems in early adolescence: New models of the role of relationships in development.J. Early Adoles. 5: 9–21.Google Scholar
  7. Downey, K. I. (1984). An investigation of loneliness in adolescents: Prevalence, stability and correlates.Dissert. Abstr. Int. 45: 2306B.Google Scholar
  8. Goswick, R., and Jones, W. (1982). Components of loneliness during adolescence.J. Youth Adoles. 11: 373–383.Google Scholar
  9. Hunter, F. T., and Youniss, J. (1982). Changes in functions of three relations during adolescence.Develop. Psychol. 18: 806–811.Google Scholar
  10. Kirk, R. E. (1982).Experimental Design: Procedures for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.), Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.Google Scholar
  11. Larson, R., and Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1978). Experiential correlates of time alone in adolescence.J. Personal. 46: 677–693.Google Scholar
  12. Larson, R., Csikszentmihalyi, M., and Graef, R. (1982). Time alone in daily experience: Loneliness or renewal? In Peplau, L. A., and Perlman, D. (eds.),Loneliness: A Sourcebook of Current Theory, Research and Therapy, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Marcoen, A., and Brumagne, M. (1985). Loneliness among children and young adolescents.Develop. Psychol. 21: 1025–1031.Google Scholar
  14. Montemayor, R., and Adams, G. R. (eds.) (1985). Contemporary approaches to the study of families with adolescents (Special issue).J. Early Adoles. 5(1).Google Scholar
  15. Moore, D., and Schultz, N. (1983). Loneliness at adolescence: Correlates, attributions, and coping.J. Youth Adoles. 12: 95–100.Google Scholar
  16. Ostrov, E., and Offer, D. (1978). Loneliness and the adolescent.Adoles. Psychiatr. 6: 34–50.Google Scholar
  17. Perlman, D., and Peplau, L. A. (1981). Towards a social psychology of loneliness. In Duck, S., and Gilmour, R. (eds.),Personal Relationships, Vol. 3, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  18. Russell, D., Peplau, L. A., and Cutrona, C. E. (1980). The resised UCLA Loneliness Scale: Concurrent and discriminant validity evidence.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 39: 472–480.Google Scholar
  19. Russell, D., Peplau, L. A., and Ferguson, M. L. (1978). Developing a measure of loneliness.J. Personal. Assess. 42: 290–294.Google Scholar
  20. Russell, D., Cutrona, C. E., Rose, J., and Yurko, K. (1984). Social and emotional loneliness: An examination of Weiss's typology of loneliness.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 46: 1313–1321.Google Scholar
  21. Schmitt, J. P., and Kurdek, L. A. (1985). Age and gender differences in and personality correlates of loneliness in different relationships.J. Personal. Assess. 49: 485–496.Google Scholar
  22. Schmidt, N., and Sermat, V. (1983). Measuring loneliness in different relationships.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 44: 1038–1047.Google Scholar
  23. Serafica, F. C., and Blyth, D. A. (1985). Continuities and changes in the study of friendship and peer groups during early adolescence.J. Early Adoles. 5: 267–283.Google Scholar
  24. Suedfeld, P. (1982). Aloneness as a healing experience. In Peplau, L. A., and Perlman, D. (eds.),Loneliness: A Sourcebook of Current Theory, Research and Therapy. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Weiss, R. S. (1973).Loneliness: The Experience of Emotional and Social Isolation. M. I. T. Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  26. Williams, E. G. (1983). Adolescent loneliness.Adolescence 18: 51–66.Google Scholar
  27. Youniss, J. (1980).Parents and Peers in Social Development: A Sullivan-Piaget Perspective, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfons Marcoen
    • 1
  • Luc Goossens
    • 2
  • Paul Caes
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Louvain (K. U. Leuven)LeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Belgian National Fund for Scientific ResearchUniversity of Louvain (K. U. Leuven)Belgium
  3. 3.University of Louvain (K. U. Leuven)Belgium

Personalised recommendations