American Teens Less Lonely Than Previous Generations

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Thursday, December 11, 2014

American Teens Less Lonely Than Previous Generations

*The following is excerpted from an online article from CNN.

With growing concerns about loneliness among younger generations in modern society -- in the land of Facebook-stalking, Snapchat-sending gadget-junkies -- some experts now say despite being in technological isolation, American teenagers aren't feeling quite as lonely as their parents were when they were teens.

A study published recently in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows a modest decline in loneliness among American high school and college students through the years 1978 to 2009.

The researchers figured this out looking at data from several studies of high school and college students in the United States that examined teen attitudes and activities among this age group.

The study found that teenagers today are less empathetic. They are also less likely to join clubs and make fewer close friends than prior generations, but that doesn't leave them feeling left out.

Young people today, the study says, are more independent. They have less need for feeling attached to a large group of friends. For example, in 1985, 10% of people reported they discussed important matters with no one; in 2004, 25% reported the same. At the same time, young people feel more confident about themselves. They are more independent and assertive.

University of Queensland and Griffith University researchers suggest "extraversion and self-esteem, have increased over time." That, they say, may play a big part in this overall decline.

Throughout history, "people become less dependent on their families and need more specialized skills, which could lead to less interest in social support and more self-sufficiency," lead researcher David Clark wrote in a statement that went out with the study, "over time, people are more individualistic, more extroverted, and have higher self-esteem."

The data showed female college students reported lower levels of loneliness than their male counterparts, although there were no big differences between male and female students in high school.

Source: CNN