Loneliness and social adaptation in Brazilian, Canadian, Chinese and Italian children: a multi-national comparative study
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 45, Issue 8, pages 1373–1384, November 2004
How to Cite
Chen, X., He, Y., Oliveira, A. M. D., Coco, A. L., Zappulla, C., Kaspar, V., Schneider, B., Valdivia, I. A., Tse, H. C.-H. and DeSouza, A. (2004), Loneliness and social adaptation in Brazilian, Canadian, Chinese and Italian children: a multi-national comparative study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45: 1373–1384. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00329.x
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Manuscript accepted 24 November 2003
- social adaptation;
- school performance;
Background: Research on children's loneliness has been conducted mostly in Western, especially North American, cultures. The purpose of the study was to examine relations between loneliness and social adaptation among children and adolescents in four different societies.
Methods: A total of 2263 children from grade 3 to grade 6, aged 9 to 12 years, in Brazil, Canada, P. R. China, and Southern Italy participated in the study. The participants completed a self-report measure of loneliness. Information about social behaviors and peer relationships was obtained from peer assessments.
Results: Multi-group analyses revealed that the overall patterns of relations among social behaviors, peer relationships and loneliness differed across the samples. Specifically, sociability was positively associated with peer relationships and made negative indirect contributions to loneliness through peer relationships in all four samples. Aggression made significant indirect contributions to the prediction of loneliness in Chinese children, but not in other samples. Shyness-sensitivity was associated with loneliness directly in Brazilian and Italian children and indirectly through peer relationships in Canadian children, but not associated with loneliness in Chinese children.
Conclusions: The results suggest that the nature of children's loneliness may be affected by the broad socio-cultural context.