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Is loneliness the same as being alone?
The cognitive discrepancy model predicts that loneliness occurs when individuals perceive a difference between their desired and actual levels of social involvement. Using data from a sample of high school sophomore students, the present investigation was designed to go beyond previous research that has tested this model by examining the predicted nonlinear relationships between desired and actual social contact and feelings of loneliness. Analyses indicated that support for the cognitive discrepancy model of loneliness was found only for measures of close friendships. Specifically, the discrepancy between the students' ideal number and actual number of close friends was found to be related in a nonlinear fashion to feelings of satisfaction with close friendships and loneliness after control for the number of close friends. Implications of these findings for theoretical models of loneliness are discussed.
Predictive Value of Tests
Pub Type(s)Comparative Study