Loneliness during the Transition to Early Adolescence

Shirley Mcguire and Jeanie Clifford

in Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157475
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848065 | DOI:
Loneliness during the                         Transition to Early Adolescence

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This chapter examines children's reports of loneliness while they were making the transition into early adolescence. Loneliness is often conceptualized as an internalizing behavioral problem in developmental psychopathology research. Few studies have addressed the correlation between children's reports of peer isolation and other measures of internalizing problems. Are individual differences in loneliness heritable during the transition to adolescence? Are children's perceptions of loneliness linked to parent and teacher reports of internalizing problems over time? The sample consisted of 590–661 Colorado Adoption Project (CAP) children when they were nine, ten, eleven, and twelve years old. Eight percent of the CAP children reported feeling really isolated from their peers. While there were no gender differences, children's reports of loneliness decreased across age. Individual differences in loneliness were linked to genetic and non-shared environmental factors. Chronically lonely children seem to believe that peer rejection or isolation is their fault and it cannot or will not change. Consequently, extreme loneliness is often grouped with other “internalizing” behavioral problems such as depression, anxiety, and low self-worth.

Keywords: Colorado Adoption Project; children; loneliness; transition; early adolescence; peer isolation; internalizing problems; environmental factors; peer rejection; depression

Chapter.  5579 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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