Trajectories of Loneliness During Adolescence Predict Subsequent Symptoms of Depression and Positive Wellbeing

Simon Hunter, Rebecca Seth, Stephen Houghton, David Lawrence, Corinne Zadow, Michael Rosenberg, Lisa Wood, Pamela Qualter, Trevor Shilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a need to identify the outcomes of changes in loneliness during adolescence, and to consider this within a multidimensional framework of loneliness. This study considered the effects of different trajectories of change in Isolation Loneliness and in Friendship Loneliness upon both positive wellbeing and symptoms of depression. To achieve this, 1782 (43% female; 12.92 years old at the start of the study, SD = 1.60) young people took part in a longitudinal study with four data points across 2 years. Four Isolation Loneliness trajectories and five Friendship Loneliness trajectories were identified. Youth who experienced low levels of Isolation Loneliness that subsequently increased appear to be at particular risk for poor outcomes. Similarly, initially high levels of Friendship Loneliness that decreased rapidly, or which began at a low level and only increased marginally, seem to also be a risk. Loneliness is a multi-dimensional construct and its development during adolescence impacts upon young people’s depressive symptomatology and positive mental wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1090
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume53
Issue number5
Early online date21 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2023

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