Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Social and Emotional Loneliness: Longitudinal Stability, Interdependence, and Intergenerational Transmission Among Boys and Girls

List of AuthorsAnne-Elina Salo, Niina Junttila, Marja Vauras


Publication year2019

JournalFamily Relations

Journal name in sourceFAMILY RELATIONS

Journal acronymFAM RELAT

Volume number69

Issue number1

Start page151

End page165

Number of pages16






To examine the longitudinal stability, interdependence, and intergenerational transmission of social and emotional loneliness among boys and girls.


The benefits of a two-dimensional loneliness measurement distinguishing between social and emotional loneliness are established; however, understanding of their possible developmental interdependence over time is lacking. Boys have been shown to experience more emotional loneliness, but gender-specific differences in the intergenerational transmission of loneliness remain scarcely mapped.


Two-dimensional loneliness experiences were collected from 318 fourth- to sixth-graders in Finland over five time points and from their parents at the first time point. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling.


The developmental pathways of emotional and social loneliness dimensions were relatively independent of one another. Long-term social loneliness of sons was predicted by their father's loneliness, and that of daughters was predicted by their mother's loneliness.


Gender-specific pathways in the intergenerational transmission of loneliness are a new finding and need further exploration in future research.


A gender-sensitive two-dimensional approach is important given the distinct experiences and paths of social and emotional loneliness between boys and girls. Supporting children and their families is crucial to intervene in the paths of loneliness at an early stage.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 11:02