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Social Isolation

  1. Keelah D. Andrews,
  2. Kelly S. Flanagan

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0891

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Andrews, K. D. and Flanagan, K. S. 2010. Social Isolation. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Wheaton College

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Social interaction is integral to mental health across development. Lack of social interaction, or social isolation, not only is a painful experience but also can negatively impact child development. Distinctions have been made between emotional isolation, appearing in the absence of close emotional attachment, and social isolation, which appears in the absence of an engaging social network. Social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem and alienation, negative self-concept and powerlessness, increased shyness and anger, decreased activity, depression, social and academic difficulties, and in some cases, delinquent behavior and violence. Recent studies suggest that social anxiety may be a precursor to social isolation and that the loneliness that accompanies social isolation uniquely contributes to severe emotional problems.


  • social isolation;
  • social withdrawal;
  • shyness