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Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early
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Stephen A. Petrill, Robert Plomin, John C. DeFries, and John K. Hewitt

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195157475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157475.001.0001

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Loneliness during the Transition to Early Adolescence

Loneliness during the Transition to Early Adolescence

(p.152) 10 Loneliness during the Transition to Early Adolescence
Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence

Shirley Mcguire

Jeanie Clifford

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines children's reports of loneliness while they were making the transition into early adolescence. Loneliness is often conceptualized as an internalizing behavioral problem in developmental psychopathology research. Few studies have addressed the correlation between children's reports of peer isolation and other measures of internalizing problems. Are individual differences in loneliness heritable during the transition to adolescence? Are children's perceptions of loneliness linked to parent and teacher reports of internalizing problems over time? The sample consisted of 590–661 Colorado Adoption Project (CAP) children when they were nine, ten, eleven, and twelve years old. Eight percent of the CAP children reported feeling really isolated from their peers. While there were no gender differences, children's reports of loneliness decreased across age. Individual differences in loneliness were linked to genetic and non-shared environmental factors. Chronically lonely children seem to believe that peer rejection or isolation is their fault and it cannot or will not change. Consequently, extreme loneliness is often grouped with other “internalizing” behavioral problems such as depression, anxiety, and low self-worth.

Keywords:   Colorado Adoption Project, children, loneliness, transition, early adolescence, peer isolation, internalizing problems, environmental factors, peer rejection, depression

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