A short-form measure of loneliness to predict depression symptoms among adolescents

Michael J. Kyron, Stephen Houghton*, David Lawrence, Andrew C. Page, Simon C. Hunter, Sashya Gunasekera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to produce a short-form measure of loneliness and assesses its prediction of depressive symptoms relative to a comprehensive measure. Western Australian adolescents completed the Friendship Related Loneliness and Isolation subscales of the Perth Aloneness Scale (PALs) three times over 18 months (T 1 n = 1538; T 2, n = 1683; T 3, n = 1406). Items were reduced while preserving predictability. Follow-up confirmatory factor analyses and predictive models with the reduced and full PALs were then tested. A reduced six-item scale (PALs-6) preserved the two-factor structure of the PALs and showed strong prediction of very elevated depressive symptoms (Sensitivity = 0.70, Specificity = 0.78, AUC = 0.81); it was less successful in predicting future symptoms (Sensitivity = 0.67, Specificity = 0.64, AUC = 0.74). The PALs-6 provides a brief measure of adolescent loneliness for clinicians and researchers that also predicts very elevated levels of depression.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Early online date27 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2022

Keywords

  • loneliness
  • depressive symptoms
  • adolescents
  • predicting

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