Feelings of subjective emotional loneliness: An exploration of attachment

Stefan Bogaerts1, Mattias Desmet2, Stijn Vanheule2
1Tilburg University and WODC, Netherlands
2Ghent University, Belgium
Cite this article:  Bogaerts, S., Desmet, M., & Vanheule, S. (2006). Feelings of subjective emotional loneliness: An exploration of attachment. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 34(7), 797-812.

Volume 34 Issue 7 | e1515 | Published: August 2006 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2006.34.7.797

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In this study we examined the relationships among parental attachment, peer attachment, and subjective feelings of emotional loneliness. Three alternative models were tested in a group of 440 graduating psychology students at Ghent University in Belgium. We first explored the linear causal relationship between parental attachment, peer attachment, and feelings of emotional loneliness. Second, we tested the direct relationship between parental attachment and feelings of emotional loneliness, and third we examined the reciprocity between feelings of emotional loneliness and peer attachment. Using structural equation modeling, results showed that peer attachment mediates strongly between parental attachment and feelings of emotional loneliness. The direct contribution of parental attachment to feelings of emotional loneliness was rather weak. Finally, feelings of emotional loneliness did not contribute significantly to the explanation of peer-attachment style.

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