Loneliness and Depression or Depression-Related Factors Among Child Welfare-Involved Adolescent Females.
Lalayants, Marina. Prince, Jonathan D.
Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Vol. 32, No. 2 , p. 167-176
Springer International Publishing AG
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
Tel: 212-460-1500 800-SPRINGER
While there are well-documented connections between loneliness and depression, it is unclear whether loneliness leads to depression, whether depression leads to loneliness, or whether the relationship is bidirectional. This study therefore sought to disentangle the relationship: (1) between loneliness and depression, and (2) between loneliness and factors that are potentially related to depression, including school disengagement (e.g., depression-related lack of motivation or energy for schoolwork) and low future expectations (e.g., depression-related lack of hope or optimism). Child welfare-involved adolescents were studied, for in relation to other adolescents, they can have higher rates of both loneliness and depression, and females were studied because they can be lonelier and more depressed than males. Utilizing the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II (N = 5,872 in Wave II: 2009–2011), adjusted logistic regression was used to predict depression in Wave II from loneliness in Wave I (18 months earlier), and then to predict loneliness in Wave II from depression in Wave I. Next, the same bidirectional analysis was repeated for loneliness and school disengagement, and for loneliness and low future expectations. Findings suggest that there are statistically significant and fairly substantial bidirectional relationships between loneliness and depression, between loneliness and school disengagement, and between loneliness and low future expectations. Interventions for child welfare-involved adolescent females are needed that screen for and treat depression (or depression-related factors of school disengagement or low future expectations) in order to help prevent loneliness, and that screen for and treat loneliness in order to prevent depression or depression-related factors. (Author abstract)