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04-05-2017 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 1/2018

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 1/2018

Developmental Change in Loneliness and Attitudes Toward Aloneness in Adolescence

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 1/2018
Sofie Danneel, Marlies Maes, Janne Vanhalst, Patricia Bijttebier, Luc Goossens
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10964-017-0685-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to experiencing feelings of loneliness. Changes in different social contexts and the inability to cope with these changes can result in different types of loneliness. According to the multidimensional view on loneliness, loneliness can be experienced in relationships with peers and parents and can be placed in a broader perspective by taking into account attitudes toward aloneness (i.e., positive and negative). However, we do not yet know how loneliness and attitudes toward aloneness develop across adolescence. These developmental trends were examined in two samples of Flemish adolescents consisting of 834 adolescents (61.9% girls, M age  = 14.84; Sample 1), and 968 adolescents (58.6% girls, M age  = 14.82; Sample 2), respectively. Adolescents filled out the Loneliness and Aloneness Scale for Children and Adolescents (LACA) during regular school hours on three (Sample 1) and four (Sample 2) measurement occasions with a 1-year interval. Latent growth curve modeling (LGCM) was applied. In line with theoretical notions, adolescents’ parent-related loneliness and positive attitude toward aloneness were expected to increase, and adolescents’ peer-related loneliness and negative attitude toward aloneness were expected to decrease. Clear evidence was found for the hypotheses regarding attitudes toward aloneness. The results regarding peer-related loneliness were inconsistent across samples and parent-related loneliness decreased, which was in contrast with theoretical expectations. In general, the two types of loneliness and attitudes toward aloneness changed in different directions during adolescence, suggesting the added value of a multidimensional view on loneliness.

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