Embracing me-time: Motivation for solitude during transition to college

  • Thuy-vy T. NguyenEmail author
  • Kaitlyn M. Werner
  • Bart Soenens
Original Paper


The present research examined the role of university students’ motivation for spending time alone in their adjustment to college life, as well as the parenting correlates of students’ healthy motivation for solitude. Two studies were conducted on first-year college students in the United States (n = 147) and Canada (n = 223). In Study 1, data was collected at three different time points, separated by two-week intervals. In Study 2, data was collected at two different time points, separated by a month. The results revealed that, for those who reported perceiving lower social belonging, approaching solitary time for autonomous reasons was linked to greater self-esteem (Study 1), and greater sense of relatedness to others and lower loneliness (Study 2). These findings suggest that endorsing a healthy motivation for solitude is not necessarily indicative of social ill-being. Additionally, students’ autonomous motivation for spending time alone was associated with having parents that are autonomy supportive and that promote a sense of independence.


Well-being Autonomous motivation Solitude Loneliness Self-determination theory 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Social Sciences of PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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