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  1. Leah Lavelle,
  2. Louise C. Hawkley

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0513

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Lavelle, L. and Hawkley, L. C. 2010. Loneliness. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Chicago

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Loneliness is a feeling of distress that accompanies perceived deficiencies in social relationships. Loneliness often occurs in conjunction with social isolation, but a person can be socially isolated without feeling lonely and can feel lonely without being socially isolated. In contrast with social isolation, loneliness is more closely related to the perceived quality than quantity of social relationships. Historically, emotional loneliness, defined as deficiencies in relationships with a close other such as a spouse, has been distinguished from social loneliness, defined as deficiencies in social networks or feelings of belonging (Weiss, 1973). Recent empirical evidence supports three distinct dimensions of loneliness reflecting perceived deficits in intimate, relational, and collective connections. Thus, not being married, having few friends and relatives and/or little contact with them, and not taking part in any voluntary groups are examples of specific risk factors for intimate, relational, and collective loneliness, respectively (Hawkley, Browne, & Cacioppo, 2005).


  • social cognition;
  • stress;
  • health behaviors;
  • health;
  • sleep