Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1408–1415 | Cite as

Loneliness and Attitudes Toward Being Alone in Belgian and Chinese Adolescents: Examining Measurement Invariance

  • Marlies Maes
  • Jennifer M. Wang
  • Wim Van den Noortgate
  • Luc Goossens
Original Paper


Loneliness is an adverse phenomenon that tends to peak during adolescence. As loneliness is a subjective state, it is different from the objective state of being alone. People’s attitudes toward being alone can be more or less negative or positive. Cultures differ in the form and meaning of social behavior, interpersonal relationships, and time spent alone. However, for cross-cultural comparisons to be meaningful, measurement invariance of the measure should be established. The present study examined measurement invariance of the Loneliness and Aloneness Scale for Children and Adolescents (LACA) in a sample of 218 Belgian and 190 Chinese early adolescents, aged 11–15 years. Using nested multigroup confirmatory factor analyses, measurement invariance of the LACA across Belgium and China was established. More specifically, evidence was found for configural, metric, and partial scalar invariance. Because partial scalar invariance was established, the two cultural groups could be compared. No significant differences were found for peer-related loneliness. Regarding the attitudes toward aloneness, Belgian adolescents were more negative and less positive toward being alone than Chinese adolescents. The present study is encouraging for researchers who want to use the LACA for cross-cultural comparisons, in that we found evidence for measurement invariance across two disparate cultural groups speaking completely different languages.


Loneliness Attitudes toward being alone Measurement invariance Belgian and Chinese adolescents 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of School Psychology and Child and Adolescent DevelopmentKU LeuvenLouvainBelgium
  2. 2.National Center for Children and Families, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Research Group of Methodology of Educational SciencesKU LeuvenLouvainBelgium

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