Adolescent Loneliness and Social Skills

G.M.A. Lodder, L. Goossens, R. H. J. Scholte, R. C. M. E. Engels, M. Verhagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Lonely adolescents report that they have poor social skills, but it is unknown whether this is due to an accurate perception of a social skills deficit, or a biased negative perception. This is an important distinction, as actual social skills deficits require different treatments than biased negative perceptions. In this study, we compared self-reported social skills evaluations with peer-reported social skills and meta-evaluations of social skills (i.e., adolescents' perceptions of how they believe their classmates evaluate them). Based on the social skills view, we expected negative relations between loneliness and these three forms of social skills evaluations. Based on the bias view, we expected lonely adolescents to have more negative self- and meta-evaluations compared to peer-evaluations of social skills. Participants were 1342 adolescents (48.64 % male, M (age) = 13.95, SD = .54). All classmates rated each other in a round-robin design to obtain peer-evaluations. Self- and meta-evaluations were obtained using self-reports. Data were analyzed using polynomial regression analyses and response surface modeling. The results indicated that, when self-, peer- and meta-evaluations were similar, a greater sense of loneliness was related to poorer social skills. Loneliness was also related to larger discrepancies between self- and peer-evaluations of loneliness, but not related to the direction of these discrepancies. Thus, for some lonely adolescents, loneliness may be related to an actual social skills deficit, whereas for others a biased negative perception of one's own social skills or a mismatch with the environment may be related to their loneliness. This implies that different mechanisms may underlie loneliness, which has implications for interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2406-2416
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume45
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Loneliness
adolescent
evaluation
deficit
Social Skills
mismatch
Self Report
regression

Keywords

  • Loneliness
  • Social skills
  • Bias
  • Discrepancies
  • Peer evaluations
  • POLYNOMIAL REGRESSION
  • PSYCHOSOCIAL PROBLEMS
  • DIFFERENCE SCORES
  • LONELY CHILDREN
  • TRAJECTORIES
  • CHILDHOOD
  • ATTRIBUTIONS
  • COMPETENCE
  • PREDICTORS
  • ATTACHMENT

Cite this

Lodder, G. M. A., Goossens, L., Scholte, R. H. J., Engels, R. C. M. E., & Verhagen, M. (2016). Adolescent Loneliness and Social Skills. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(12), 2406-2416. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0461-y
Lodder, G.M.A. ; Goossens, L. ; Scholte, R. H. J. ; Engels, R. C. M. E. ; Verhagen, M. / Adolescent Loneliness and Social Skills. In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 2016 ; Vol. 45, No. 12. pp. 2406-2416.
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Lodder, GMA, Goossens, L, Scholte, RHJ, Engels, RCME & Verhagen, M 2016, 'Adolescent Loneliness and Social Skills', Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 45, no. 12, pp. 2406-2416. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0461-y

Adolescent Loneliness and Social Skills. / Lodder, G.M.A.; Goossens, L.; Scholte, R. H. J.; Engels, R. C. M. E.; Verhagen, M.

In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 45, No. 12, 12.2016, p. 2406-2416.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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T1 - Adolescent Loneliness and Social Skills

AU - Lodder, G.M.A.

AU - Goossens, L.

AU - Scholte, R. H. J.

AU - Engels, R. C. M. E.

AU - Verhagen, M.

PY - 2016/12

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AB - Lonely adolescents report that they have poor social skills, but it is unknown whether this is due to an accurate perception of a social skills deficit, or a biased negative perception. This is an important distinction, as actual social skills deficits require different treatments than biased negative perceptions. In this study, we compared self-reported social skills evaluations with peer-reported social skills and meta-evaluations of social skills (i.e., adolescents' perceptions of how they believe their classmates evaluate them). Based on the social skills view, we expected negative relations between loneliness and these three forms of social skills evaluations. Based on the bias view, we expected lonely adolescents to have more negative self- and meta-evaluations compared to peer-evaluations of social skills. Participants were 1342 adolescents (48.64 % male, M (age) = 13.95, SD = .54). All classmates rated each other in a round-robin design to obtain peer-evaluations. Self- and meta-evaluations were obtained using self-reports. Data were analyzed using polynomial regression analyses and response surface modeling. The results indicated that, when self-, peer- and meta-evaluations were similar, a greater sense of loneliness was related to poorer social skills. Loneliness was also related to larger discrepancies between self- and peer-evaluations of loneliness, but not related to the direction of these discrepancies. Thus, for some lonely adolescents, loneliness may be related to an actual social skills deficit, whereas for others a biased negative perception of one's own social skills or a mismatch with the environment may be related to their loneliness. This implies that different mechanisms may underlie loneliness, which has implications for interventions.

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KW - Peer evaluations

KW - POLYNOMIAL REGRESSION

KW - PSYCHOSOCIAL PROBLEMS

KW - DIFFERENCE SCORES

KW - LONELY CHILDREN

KW - TRAJECTORIES

KW - CHILDHOOD

KW - ATTRIBUTIONS

KW - COMPETENCE

KW - PREDICTORS

KW - ATTACHMENT

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Lodder GMA, Goossens L, Scholte RHJ, Engels RCME, Verhagen M. Adolescent Loneliness and Social Skills. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 2016 Dec;45(12):2406-2416. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0461-y