Loneliness and Subjective Well-Being Among Chinese Undergraduates: The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy

Abstract

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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Acknowledgments

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).

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Correspondence to Shuxia Zhang.

Appendix

Appendix

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

  • Depression (Ross and Mirowsky 1984; Mirowsky and Ross 1992)

  • 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

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Keywords

  • Loneliness
  • Self-efficacy
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Life satisfaction
  • Subjective well-being