Date of Award

1984

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

This study sought to determine whether chronic and transient loneliness are meaningful distinctions in loneliness research and to provide data to guide future investigations. To do this, the study differentiated people who reported chronic loneliness from those who reported transient or no experience with loneliness and compared them on the characteristics of trait anxiety, self-esteem, and depression. The subjects were 281 student volunteers, ages 18 to 25, who were enrolled in undergraduate psychology classes at Louisiana State University. Subjects categorized themselves as chronically lonely, transiently lonely, or never lonely on the Personal History of Loneliness Questionnaire (PHOL). Current loneliness was assessed with the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Subjects were classified on the basis of these two instruments into four groups reflecting loneliness history and presence or absence or current loneliness. Chronically lonely people were found to have higher levels of trait anxiety and were more likely to be mildly to moderately depressed than transiently lonely individuals. Chronically and transiently lonely individuals did not differ on self-esteem, although they had lower self-esteem than the nonlonely people. Greatest self-esteem was found among the never lonely. The results of this study provided additional support for the conclusion that chronic and transient loneliness are two different types of loneliness and suggested a number of important leads for future research in this area.

Pages

129

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