Declining Loneliness Over Time: Evidence From American Colleges and High Schools

Published on Jan 1, 2015in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin2.603
· DOI :10.1177/0146167214557007
D. Matthew T. Clark3
Estimated H-index: 3
(UQ: University of Queensland),
Natalie J. Loxton20
Estimated H-index: 20
(UQ: University of Queensland),
Stephanie J. Tobin10
Estimated H-index: 10
(UQ: University of Queensland)
We examined changes in loneliness over time. Study 1 was a cross-temporal meta-analysis of 48 samples of American college students who completed the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (total N = 13,041). In Study 1, loneliness declined from 1978 to 2009 (d = −0.26). Study 2 used a representative sample of high school students from the Monitoring the Future project (total N = 385,153). In Study 2, loneliness declined from 1991 to 2012. Declines were similar among White students (d = −0.14), Black students (d = −0.17), male students (d = −0.11), and female students (d = −0.11). Different loneliness factors showed diverging trends. Subjective isolation declined (d = −0.20), whereas social network isolation increased (d = 0.06). We discuss the declines in loneliness within the context of other cultural changes, including changes to group membership and personality.
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