Peer-related loneliness across early to late adolescence: Normative trends, intra-individual trajectories, and links with depressive symptoms

Gary Ladd, Idean Ettekal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study aims were to: (a) describe normative levels and person-oriented developmental trends in loneliness across adolescence, and (2) examine the association between loneliness and depressive symptoms during this same epoch. Participants included 478 youth (239 males and females; 80% Caucasian, 16% African American, and 4% other). Measures of loneliness and multiple indicators of depressive symptoms were gathered yearly across grades 6 through 12 (ages 12-18). Findings implied that most adolescents experience loneliness more strongly during early rather than later adolescence, but not all adolescents traverse the same loneliness trajectories. Youth followed one of five distinct trajectories, characterized as: (a) stable non-lonely, (b) stable low lonely, (c) stable high (chronic) lonely, (d) moderate decliners, and (e) steep decliners. Adolescents following stable high and moderate loneliness trajectories displayed the most depressive symptoms and, although informant differences were found, these youth also manifest the largest gains in depressive symptoms over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1282
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Loneliness
  • Peer relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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