Previous studies have shown a negative relationship between loneliness and one’s subjective well-being. However, it has not been fully examined within the Chinese context which highlights the importance of social relationship and interpersonal harmony for one’s life, and the mechanism between them has not been thoroughly explored. Based on social cognitive theory, this study examined the main effects of loneliness on individuals’ stress, depression, and life satisfaction, as well as the mediating effect of self-efficacy between them. Survey data were obtained from 444 Chinese undergraduates. The results of multiple regressions revealed that loneliness was negatively correlated with life satisfaction and positively correlated with stress and depression. Moreover, self-efficacy partially mediated the relationship between loneliness and stress, as well as depression, and fully mediated the relationship between loneliness and life satisfaction. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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This research is supported by 2014–2015 International Scholar Exchange Fellowship program of Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies and National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 71402127).
R means reverse coded
Loneliness (UCLA Loneliness Scale, Russell 1996)
I am in tune with the people around me (R)
I lack companionship
There is no one I can turn to
I feel alone
I feel part of a group of friends (R)
I have a lot in common with the people around me (R)
I am no longer close to anyone
My interests and ideals are not shared by those around you
I am an outgoing and friendly person (R)
I feel close to people (R)
I feel left out
I feel my relationships with others are not meaningful
No one really knows me well
I feel isolated from others
I can find companionship when I want it (R)
There are people who really understand me (R)
I feel shy
People are around me but not with me
There are people I can talk to (R)
There are people I can turn to (R)
Self-efficacy (Schwarzer and Jerusalem 1995)
I can always manage to solve difficult problems if I try hard enough
If someone opposes me, I can find the means and ways to get what I want
It is easy for me to stick to my aims and accomplish my goals
I am confident that I could deal efficiently with unexpected events
Thanks to my resourcefulness, I know how to handle unforeseen situations
I can solve most problems if I invest the necessary effort
I can remain calm when facing difficulties because I can rely on my coping abilities
When I am confronted with a problem, I can usually find several solutions
If I am in trouble, I can usually think of a solution
I can usually handle whatever comes my way
Stress (Cohen et al. 1983)
Recently I felt upset because of something that happened unexpectedly
Recently I felt that I was unable to control the important things in my life
Recently I felt nervous and stressed
Recently I dealt successfully with irritating life hassles (R)
Recently I felt that I was effectively coping with important changes that were occurring in my life (R)
Recently I felt confident about my ability to handle my personal problems (R)
Recently I felt that things were going my way (R)
Recently I found that I could not cope with all the things that I had to do
Recently I was able to control irritations in my life (R)
Recently I felt that I was on top of things (R)
Recently I was angered because of things that happened that were outside of my control
Recently I found myself thinking about things that I have to accomplish
Recently I was able to control the way I spend my time (R)
Recently I felt difficulties were piling up so high that I could not overcome them
Recently I felt I just couldn’t get going
Recently I felt sad
Recently I had trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep
Recently I felt that everything was an effort
Recently I felt lonely
Recently I felt I couldn’t shake the blues
Recently I had trouble keeping my mind on what I was doing
Life satisfaction (Diener et al. 1985)
In most ways my life is close to my ideal
The conditions of my life are excellent
I am satisfied with my life
So far I have gotten the important things I want in life
If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing
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Tu, Y., Zhang, S. Loneliness and Subjective Well-Being Among Chinese Undergraduates: The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy. Soc Indic Res 124, 963–980 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-014-0809-1
- Life satisfaction
- Subjective well-being