Loneliness and disclosure to peers by early adolescents
Holowatuik, Ramona L.
Master of Arts
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The present research was designed to investigate the differences between lonely and non-lonely early adolescents in: (a) their disclosures to familiar peers and, (b) their perceptions of their relations with familiar peers. In the study, sixty-nine early adolescents completed the Asher Loneliness Questionnaire (Asher et al., 1984). A sub-sample of males and females who were lonely and non-lonely were engaged in dyadic conversations. The subjects were required to complete pre-conversation and post-conversation ratings of: (a) liking of partner, (b) perceived liking by partner, (c) familiarity of partner, and (d) perceived familiarity by partner. As expected, same-sex patterns emerged with respect to familiarity and perceived familiarity. Although not hypothesized, same-sex patterns of liking and perceived liking were also found. It was expected that there would be differences between lonely and non-lonely early adolescents in their disclosures to peers as a function of sex. While differences between the disclosures of lonely and non-lonely subjects were found, these were not a function of sex but of partner’s loneliness. Specifically, it was found that lonely male subjects disclosed less intimate information to lonely than non-lonely partners. Non-lonely male subjects did not differentially disclose to lonely and non-lonely partners. Lonely female subjects disclosed relatively high-intimate information to both lonely and non-lonely partners compared to non-lonely female subjects. As expected, lonely subjects reported that they were less liked by partners than did nonlonely subjects. The implications for clinical work and peer relations are discussed as well as possible limitations of the study.