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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 7/2013

01-10-2013

Low Self-Esteem as a Risk Factor for Loneliness in Adolescence: Perceived - but not Actual - Social Acceptance as an Underlying Mechanism

Auteurs: Janne Vanhalst, Koen Luyckx, Ron H. J. Scholte, Rutger C. M. E. Engels, Luc Goossens

Gepubliceerd in: Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology | Uitgave 7/2013

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Abstract

Low self-esteem has been shown to relate to concurrent and later feelings of loneliness in adolescence. However, it remains unclear why low self-esteem puts adolescents at risk for experiencing loneliness. Further, longitudinal research on the direction of effects between loneliness and self-esteem is virtually non-existent. The present study aims to fill these gaps in the literature. First, the direction of effects between loneliness and self-esteem was investigated in two independent longitudinal studies: a five-wave study sampling Dutch adolescents (M age = 15.22 years at T1; 47 % female; N = 428) and a three-wave study sampling Belgian adolescents (M age = 14.95 years at T1; 63 % female; N = 882). Second, the underlying role of social acceptance was investigated in the latter sample by applying a multi-method approach that included actual (i.e., peer-reported) and perceived (i.e., self-reported) social acceptance. Results indicated that self-esteem and loneliness influenced one another in a reciprocal manner. Furthermore, the dominant path from self-esteem to loneliness was partially mediated by perceived—but not actual—social acceptance. The importance of distinguishing actual from perceived social acceptance is discussed, and suggestions for future research are outlined.
Voetnoten
1
Unfortunately, our dataset did not contain friends’ ratings of friendship quality, but we collected self-reported friendship quality at the three measurement waves (using the Friendship Qualities Scale; Bukowski et al. 1994). We investigated whether self-reported friendship quality was a mediator between self-esteem and loneliness in the present study. Results indicated self-esteem was not significantly related to changes in self-reported friendship quality over time (although this relationship was marginally significant, β = 0.04, p < 0.10). Self-reported friendship quality, in turn, significantly predicted decreases in loneliness over time (β = −0.07, p < 0.01; χ2 (20) = 74.83, p < 0.05; CFI = 0.97; RMSEA = 0.06). Despite higher mean levels of friendship quality for girls, our model fitted equally well for boys and girls (Δ Chi2 (4) = 1.30, ns). We hope this result stimulates future studies combining self-reported with friend-reported measures of friendship quality as mediators in the association between self-esteem and loneliness.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Low Self-Esteem as a Risk Factor for Loneliness in Adolescence: Perceived - but not Actual - Social Acceptance as an Underlying Mechanism
Auteurs
Janne Vanhalst
Koen Luyckx
Ron H. J. Scholte
Rutger C. M. E. Engels
Luc Goossens
Publicatiedatum
01-10-2013
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology / Uitgave 7/2013
Print ISSN: 2730-7166
Elektronisch ISSN: 2730-7174
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-013-9751-y