The role of school connectedness and friend contact in adolescent loneliness, and implications for physical health

Yixuan Zheng*, Margarita Panayiotou, Dorothy Currie, Keming Yang, Charlotte Bagnall, Pamela Qualter, Joanna Inchley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The current study investigated how adolescents' loneliness relates to school connectedness, classmate support, teacher support, and offline and online communication with friends. We also examined the association between loneliness, physical health, and sleep. Data came from the Scottish Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC). The total sample was 2983 adolescents (F = 1479 [49.6%]) aged 14-17 years (M = 15.66, SD = 0.39) from 117 secondary schools in Scotland. Results showed that (1) higher teacher support, classmate support, and offline contact with friends predicted lower levels of loneliness, (2) online friendship engagement predicted higher levels of loneliness, and (3) poor health and sleep were positively associated with loneliness. The study offers new findings, highlighting the role played by classmates/peers and teachers in reducing loneliness. Supporting previous research, we also found associations between loneliness, poor sleep, and worse physical health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851–860
Number of pages10
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Volume55
Early online date19 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Loneliness
  • School connectedness
  • Peer contact
  • Adolescents
  • Friendship
  • Physical health

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