Adolescent Loneliness Assessment

By de Minzi, Maria Cristina Richaud; Sacchi, Carla | Adolescence, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

Adolescent Loneliness Assessment

de Minzi, Maria Cristina Richaud, Sacchi, Carla, Adolescence

Feelings of loneliness are here considered as deficiencies in systems of interpersonal interaction. Weiss (1973) made a distinction between loneliness due to emotional isolation and loneliness due to social isolation. Emotional isolation appears in the absence of close emotional attachment whereas social isolation appears in the absence of an engaging social network. Relationship with parents and peers constitute two different social contexts in which loneliness develops. A study of loneliness in children and adolescents therefore distinguishes between loneliness due to relationship with parents (parent-related loneliness) and loneliness due to relationship with peers (peer-related loneliness) (Terrell-Deutsch, 1999).

Processes contributing to the onset of vulnerability to loneliness develop throughout late childhood and early adolescence in sensitive children. A pattern made up of social anxiety, lack of dominance, and social isolation seems to elicit peer rejection, negative self-perception, and an internalization of problems that includes loneliness (Rubin & Mills, 1991). There also is evidence that internalization of problems and maladaptive behavior such as withdrawal and submission in children and young adolescents are caused by a negative shame-inducing attribution style. This is probably due to a peculiar tendency to respond to negative social experiences by internalizing a long-standing negative self-image (Cash, 1995). When the child blames his own incompetence for any negative social experiences and the young adolescent attributes them either to his or her incompetence or lack of social prestige and nonacceptance by others, the end result is social withdrawal, depression, and lasting vulnerability to problem-internalization (Olweus, 1993).

Among such negative social experiences, we may include sudden and forced changes brought about by external causes, such as moving to a new home or to a different school. Most authors agree that adolescence is the most vulnerable stage in connection with these changes. On one hand, it entails separation from the previous peer group and, on the other, it requires joining a new, already existent group whose members usually enjoy picking on nonmembers. Exposure to the values and attitudes of a new peer group coupled with the pressure to adapt to it usually results in rejection of parental advice and an increase in tensions within the family (Gander & Gardiner, 1981).

We think that an instrument evaluating adolescent loneliness should include not only items related to the sources of feelings of loneliness, but items related to the current loneliness feelings in connection with the most important persons in the social network: peers and parents.

The aim of the present work is to develop an adolescent loneliness scale that includes the feeling of being alone among parents and peers and the corresponding attributions that will help determine the degree of loneliness in relation to various sources.


Scale Development

Our scale items were based on instruments constructed by other authors. Rokach and Brock (1995) developed a scale that included some items related to inadequate social support systems, social alienation, troubled relationships, loss, crisis, developmental deficits, personal shortcomings, and other items that provide information on significant changes adolescents may have undergone. The authors worked with marginal adolescents and based their loneliness theory upon five factors related to the origins of feelings of loneliness: Personal Inadequacies, Developmental Deficits, Unfulfilling Intimate Relationships, Relocation/Significant Separation, and Social Marginality (Rokach & Brock, 1995). Rokach and Brock not only stress family deficit, but personal inadequacies and feelings of loneliness stemming from separation brought about by relocation and other such changes.

Marcoen focuses more specifically on nonmarginal children and adolescents, underscoring the quality of interpersonal relationships especially with family and peers at the time of the interview. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Adolescent Loneliness Assessment


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.