Loneliness and personal well-being in young people: moderating effects of individual, interpersonal, and community factors

Goodfellow, C. , Hardoon, D., Inchley, J. , Leyland, A. H. , Qualter, P., Simpson, S. A. and Long, E. (2022) Loneliness and personal well-being in young people: moderating effects of individual, interpersonal, and community factors. Journal of Adolescence, 94(4), pp. 554-568. (doi: 10.1002/jad.12046) (PMID:35403218)

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Abstract

Introduction: Loneliness is prevalent among young people. But, there is little work exploring the association between loneliness with well-being among this age group. Framed by social-ecological theory, we examined demographic, interpersonal, and community factors associated with personal wellbeing and, critically, identified malleable moderators of the relationship between loneliness and well-being that could be targeted in intervention efforts. Methods: We used cross-sectional, secondary data from 965 young people (aged 16–24) from the Community Life Survey in England. Loneliness was measured using a single-item direct measure; personal wellbeing was measured through a composite measure containing items assessing happiness, life satisfaction, and a sense that life is worthwhile (α = 0.88). Regression techniques were used to assess associations between individual, interpersonal, and community factors and well-being, and to identify moderators of the relationship between loneliness and well-being. Results: Loneliness was negatively associated with well-being. Chatting with neighbors and having people to provide help moderated the relationship between loneliness and well-being. Full-time students and those with good physical health had higher well-being while being a carer was predictive of lower well-being. All community variables were strongly associated with increased well-being. Of all interpersonal variables investigated, only having people to count on was associated with increased well-being. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that supportive relationships and close community ties are important for reducing the negative impact of loneliness on youth well-being. Interventions to improve well-being could benefit from targeting these aspects of young people's social and community lives, while acknowledging individual vulnerabilities, such as poor physical health.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Long, Dr Emily and Goodfellow, Ms Claire and Leyland, Professor Alastair and Simpson, Professor Sharon and Inchley, Dr Joanna
Authors: Goodfellow, C., Hardoon, D., Inchley, J., Leyland, A. H., Qualter, P., Simpson, S. A., and Long, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Adolescence
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0140-1971
ISSN (Online):1095-9254
Published Online:10 April 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Adolescence 94(4): 554-568
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Data DOI:10.5255/UKDA-SN-8478-1

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
308351Loneliness and Mental Health in Adolescent and Young Adult PopulationsEmily LongEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/T008679/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Complexity in healthSharon SimpsonMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/2HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Relationships and healthKirstin MitchellMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/3HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Complexity in healthSharon SimpsonChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU16HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU17HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Relationships and healthKirstin MitchellChief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU18HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
302716MRC Skills Development Fellowship ProgrammeJill PellMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/S015078/1S&PS - Administration