Loneliness: Sociological and Psychological Causes, and a Proposed Classification Scheme

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Information about Loneliness: Sociological and Psychological Causes, and a Proposed...

Published on May 12, 2013

Author: chrismartin76

Source: slideshare.net


WHAT IS LONELINESS? Loneliness is the subjective feeling of havingone’s affiliative needs unmetHawkley and Cacioppo 2010; Victor et al. 2000 Affiliative needs vary by person; perceptionof unmet needs also varies Loneliness is emotional isolation, not socialisolationWenger et al. 1996; Victor et al. 2000

BIG NAMES IN LONELINESS RESEARCH John Cacioppo  Louise Hawkley  Christina Victor

QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS How is loneliness measured? Can psychological and sociological causesbe separated? Is there evidence for both? Is a more granular classification schemepossible? Can it be tested?


DIVERGENT MEASURES Single-item vs multi-item Single-item example: What other things worry you: Loneliness(yes/no)Finnish Voter Barometer 1976 Short vs. long 3 questions in Dutch Parl. Elect. Study 1998 18 questions in Young Life and Times Survey, 2011 Faceted vs. Non-faceted Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults (see next slide) Mass administration vs. small-N

MULTI-ITEM MEASURES IN SOCIOLOGYDutch Parliamentary Election Study 1998 Nobody has special interest in you Even closest family not interested I often feel abandonedDutch Parliamentary Election Study 2002/2003 Respondent feels lonely When you have problems, you are on your own There is always someone you can ask for help

MULTI-ITEM MEASURES IN PSYCHOLOGYVery Commonly UsedUCLA Loneliness Scale (version 3; Russell 1996): frequency and intensity(e.g., “How often do you feel alone?”, “How often do you feel part of a group offriends,” and “How often do you feel that there are people who really understandyou?”).Sometimes UsedLoneliness Scale (De Jong, Gierveld & Kamphuis 1985)(e.g. “I experience a general sense of emptiness”)Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults (SELSA; DiTommaso &Spinner 1993): family vs. friends(e.g., “I feel close to my family”, "I have someone who fulfills my needs for intimacy”)


LONELINESS: MULTIPLE LEVELS OF ANALYSIS Finest level: Gene expressionCole 2009 Midlevel: Social sciences Broadest level: HistoricalElias 1985


FOUR PUTATIVE PROCESSES SOCIOLOGICAL Blockage: Physical barriers to connecting Network Loss: Death or other loss of close ties Alienation: Unintentionally distancing close ties PSYCHOLOGICAL Foreclosure: Intentionally pulling self away

1. BLOCKAGE Disability Neighborhood Decay---- What about: Natural disasters, geographicalisolation, stigma

1.1 DISABILITY Common among the elderly Demands time and effort to compensate forlow mobility Could change social habits Could be ameliorated by telephone, internet

1.2 NEIGHBORHOOD DECAY Described in Heat WaveKlinenberg 2002 Associated with White flight, industrialrelocation, poverty Removal of some “public” spaces; increasedrisk of crime in others Could be ameliorated by telephone, internet Can be double edged: binding vs. dividing

2. DISCONNECTEDNESS Death of spouse or friends Relocation or confinement---- What about: childlessness (Zhang and Liu2007)

2.1 DEATH OF SPOUSE Widowhood is a robust predictor ofloneliness (Berg et al. 1981; Hansson et al.1987; Savikko et al 2005; van Baarsen et al.1999)

2.2 RELOCATION AND CONFINEMENT Insufficient research on relocation, such asexpatriation and repatriation Prison research shows loneliness duringconfinement, but no research about post-confinement periodCarcedo et al. 2011

3. ALIENATION Unintentional distancing of others Result of stigmatized or outlying attributes

3.1 ASSOCIATED ATTRIBUTES Mental illnessWright et al. 2007 Gay/lesbian/bisexual orientationKuyper and Fokkema 2010 Ethnicity, but mixed support hereFokkema and Kuyper 2009; Victor et al. 2012

4 FORECLOSURE Deliberate distancing from other Entails change of identity Not the same as diffusion

4.1 PROCESSES Episodes of loneliness cause identity change Identity change causes less socializing Social focus is narrowedFredrickson 2001 Outlook becomes hypervigilant and threat-orientedCacioppo et al. 2006 Cognitive decline may occurTilvis et al. 2004

4.1 WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT FORECLOSURE? Occurs at the person level Interventions are easier to test andimplement Most effective intervention: modification ofmaladaptive social cognitionMasi et al. 2011

PART III: MODELING LONELINESSBlockageDisconnectednessAlienationForeclosureLoneliness

REFERENCESCacioppo, John T., and Louise C. Hawkley. 2009. "Perceived social isolation andcognition." Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13(10):447-54.Carcedo, Rodrigo J. et al. 2011. "Heterosexual Romantic Relationships Inside ofPrison Partner Status as Predictor of Loneliness, Sexual Satisfaction, andQuality of Life." International Journal of Offender Therapy and ComparativeCriminology 55(6):898-924.Cole, Steve W. 2009. "Social regulation of human gene expression." CurrentDirections in Psychological Science 18(3):132-37.Fokkema, Tineke, and Lisette Kuyper. 2009. "The relation between socialembeddedness and loneliness among older lesbian, gay, and bisexualadults in the Netherlands." Archives of Sexual Behavior 38(2):264-75.Fredrickson, Barbara L. 2001. "The role of positive emotions in positivepsychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions." AmericanPsychologist 56(3):218-26.Hawkley, Louise C., and John T. Cacioppo. 2010. "Loneliness matters: A theoreticaland empirical review of consequences and mechanisms." Annals ofBehavioral Medicine 40(2):218-27.Klinenberg, Eric. 2002. Heat wave?: a social autopsy of disaster in Chicago.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Kuyper, Lisette, and Tineke Fokkema. 2010. "Loneliness Among Older Lesbian,Gay, and Bisexual Adults: The Role of Minority Stress." Archives of SexualBehavior 39(5):1171-80.Masi, Christopher M., Hsi-Yuan Chen, Louise C. Hawkley, and John T.Cacioppo. 2011. "A Meta-Analysis of Interventions to Reduce Loneliness."Personality and Social Psychology Review 15(3):219-66.Oh, Joong-Hwan, and Sangmoon Kim. 2009. "Aging, neighborhoodattachment, and fear of crime: testing reciprocal effects." Journal ofCommunity Psychology 37(1):21-40.Savikko, N., P. Routasalo, R. S. Tilvis, T. E. Strandberg, and K. H. Pitkälä. 2005."Predictors and subjective causes of loneliness in an aged population."Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics 41(3):223-33.Tilvis, Reijo S. et al. 2004. "Predictors of Cognitive Decline and Mortality ofAged People Over a 10-Year Period." The Journals of Gerontology Series A:Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 59(3):M268-M274.Victor, Christina, Vanessa Burholt, and Wendy Martin. 2012. "Loneliness andEthnic Minority Elders in Great Britain: An Exploratory Study." Journal ofCross-Cultural Gerontology 27(1):65-78.Victor, Christina, Sasha Scambler, John Bond, and Ann Bowling. 2000. "Beingalone in later life: loneliness, social isolation and living alone." Reviews inClinical Gerontology 10(04):407-17.Zhang, Zhenmei, and Mark D. Hayward. 2001. "Childlessness and thePsychological Well-Being of Older Persons." The Journals of GerontologySeries B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 56(5):S311-S320.

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