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Original scientific paper

The Role of Peer's Social Support and Peer's Relationships in Preadolescents' and Adolescents' Loneliness


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page 1081-1097

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The aim of this research was to examine the relation between
loneliness as an emotional correlate of adjustment and peer
relationships. The samples consisted of 151 school children, 10
and 12 years old. The research was repeated after two years on
the same samples. The initial hypothesis of the investigation was
that loneliness is the result of deficient social relations, especially
relations with peers in preadolescence and adolescence when the
need for intimacy is stressed. According to Sullivan's interpersonal
theory, the child satisfies the need for intimacy in interaction with
a friend. Therefore the security, love and support which the child
gets in its relationship with friends prevents loneliness. Several
aspects of the quality of friendship were assessed: friendship
quality, perception of social support, reciprocity of friendship and
mutuality. The indicator for the quality of loneliness was the
feeling of emotional loneliness. The findings suggest significant
correlations between emotional loneliness and friendship quality
and perception of social support in both measurings. In young
children (first measuring) a significant position is taken by other
aspects of peer relationships. Perception of social support was a
significant predictor of feeling of loneliness in both measurings,
and reciprocity of friendship was a significant predictor only in
the first measuring. A significant gender difference in friendship
relationships and feeling of loneliness was found. It can be
concluded that satisfaction with peer relationships has a significant
place in the feeling of loneliness, and especially the perception
of social support. The findings of this research are discussed
within the context of the Interpersonal theory (Sullivan, 1953).


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