Article

Solitude as an Approach to Affective Self-Regulation

Authors:
  • Australian Catholic University North Sydney
Article

Solitude as an Approach to Affective Self-Regulation

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

In this research we showed that solitude generally has a deactivation effect on people’s affective experiences, decreasing both positive and negative high-arousal affects. In Study 1, we found that the deactivation effect occurred when people were alone, but not when they were with another person. Study 2 showed that this deactivation effect did not depend on whether or not the person was engaged in an activity such as a reading when alone. In Study 3, high-arousal positive affect did not drop in a solitude condition in which participants specifically engaged in positive thinking or when they actively chose what to think about. Finally, in Study 4, we found that solitude could lead to relaxation and reduced stress when individuals actively chose to be alone. This research thus shed light on solitude effects in the past literature, and on people’s experiences when alone and the different factors that moderate these effects.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Bowlby, 1988). Yet literature indicates that intentionally retreating from the social sphere is also beneficial for well-being, a point demonstrated in empirical studies showing solitude's role in self-regulation (Nguyen et al., 2018) and self-reflection , and in the clinical literature arguing that solitude is necessary to sustain the authentic, private self (Modell, 1993). ...
... Because support for solitude was often missing from their cultural upbringing, participants developed these skills by trial and error. In these ways, the skills of knowing when to enter and exit solitude provide greater articulation of the dynamic relationship of solitude and sociability outlined in the extant literature, which has demonstrated that when a person becomes overtaxed by the social world, a retreat into solitude can be rejuvenating and emotionally regulating, with even brief periods of solitude having a deactivating effect on high arousal states, both positive (e.g., excitement) and negative (e.g., anger; Buchholz & Helbraun, 1999;Larson, 1990;Nguyen et al., 2018). ...
... Yet, these narratives simultaneously challenge the assumption that solitude's function is ultimately in service to our more fundamental social nature, essentially providing a temporary haven to withdraw and self-regulate, after which one can rejoin society better equipped to relate positively with others (Larson, 1990;Nguyen et al., 2018). Rather, several participants flipped this script, asserting that solitude was their "natural state" or their "default" and expressed confusion during the interview when asked what motivated them to be alone. ...
Article
Full-text available
The construct of solitude skills suggests that successfully navigating the domain of solitude may require specific psychological resources, but this theoretical possibility has not yet been investigated empirically. Fourteen well-adjusted adults (Mage=49.5) participated in a qualitative study that examined their lived experiences with solitude and sought to identify the skills they utilized when engaging in positive solitude. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) of narrative data resulted in the identification of eight solitude skills organized within three central concepts: Connect with Self included the skills of enjoying solitary activities, emotion regulation, and introspection; the skills included in Protect Time were making time to be alone, using that time mindfully, and validating one’s need for solitude; and the skills of Find a Balance included heeding signals to enter solitude and knowing when to exit solitude. These findings illuminate how the documented benefits of solitude are enacted and illustrate how solitude sustains the private self, which clinicians have argued promotes well-being (Modell, 1992). Knowledge of these skills may be valuable for those who volitionally enter solitude as well as those who find themselves in unwanted isolation. These findings lay the groundwork for future studies to examine whether the solitude skills identified here apply to other populations, and to explore the efficacy of solitude skills trainings in promoting psychological well-being or as a clinical intervention.
... However, we also have very different experiences of being alone. The psychological study of solitude demonstrates that our experience of being alone can range from blissful and rejuvenating to bleak and dispiriting (Hawkley & Cacioppo, 2010;Long et al., 2003;Nguyen et al., 2018). ...
... Presumably, if a word such as lonely occurs in more negative contexts it will co-occur with lower valence words, such as sad or depressed. Similarly, we can look at the arousal rating of co-occurring terms for evidence of whether solitude is used in more deactivated (e.g., calm, bored, sleepy) contexts relative to lonely which we would expect to arise in more activated (e.g., stressed, tense) contexts (Hawkley & Cacioppo, 2010;Nguyen et al., 2018;Seeman, 1996). Moreover, dominance may provide some insight into motivations as it reflects the extent to which one feels in control versus out of control. ...
... Consistent with expectations, words that co-occurred more with solitude and less with lonely tended to be higher in valence and dominance and lower in arousal. This fits with our conceptualization of the term solitude as denoting a more pleasant, restorative, and intrinsically motivated experience of time alone (Galanaki, 2004;Nguyen et al., 2018Nguyen et al., , 2019, whereas lonely denotes a more unpleasant, stressful, and externally imposed experience of being alone (Hawkley & Cacioppo, 2010;Qualter et al., 2015). We found additional support for these associations among discrete emotion labels, including anger, fear, joy, and sadness. ...
Article
Full-text available
People have widely different experiences of being alone. Sometimes being alone is relaxing and restorative other times it gives way to feelings of loneliness. Researchers conceptually distinguish between solitude, which tends to be viewed more positively, and loneliness, which is more negative. However, it is unclear whether these terms are used differently in everyday language. We sought to compare the emotional content of over 19 million tweets containing the terms solitude and lonely/loneliness. Using a computational linguistics approach, we found that solitude tends to be used in more positive and less emotionally activated (i.e., lower arousal) contexts compared to lonely. We also found that the word alone tends to be used somewhat differently from solitude and lonely. These results have implications both for how we understand different experiences of time alone in general and for what kind of language we should use when discussing these experiences.
... Self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan and Deci, 2000a,b;Deci and Ryan, 2008a;Ryan and Deci, 2017) provides a useful framework for understanding well-being in solitude along the lifespan. SDT-informed research posits that solitude is more beneficial to the extent that it is undertaken for self-determined motivation (i.e., driving reasons) coming from one's own interests and values rather than from internal demands or pressures (Nguyen et al., 2018;Thomas and Azmitia, 2019). In the context of solitude, self-determined motivation is an important aspect of solitude in both adulthood and older adulthood (Ost Mor et al., 2020). ...
... Feeling relaxed is perhaps the most noteworthy of emotional wellbeing benefits (Buchholz, 1997). For example, Nguyen et al. (2018) identified that most of the enjoyment in solitude comes in the form of low-arousal positive affect, namely, relaxation. Similarly, Ost Mor et al. (2020) identified that positive solitude is enjoyable in no small part because it is relaxing. ...
... To summarize, a data-driven approach was used to draw out, identify, and code themes without particular bias from previous work in any particular age group. Then, the personal significance of those identified themes was tested top-down, based on previous research and theory (Ryan and Deci, 2017;Nguyen et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Solitude – the state of being alone and not physically with another – can be rewarding. The present research explored the potential benefits of solitude from a pragmatist approach: a ground-up, top-down perspective that is receptive to new knowledge but informed by theory. Participant recruitment was stratified by age and gender, and the sample involved 2,035 individuals including adolescents (13–16 years), adults (35–55 years), or older adults (65+ years). Data were analyzed with a mixed-methods approach. Coded themes from brief narratives about solitude were extracted, and their frequencies (i.e., their salience to participants ) were compared across the lifespan. Themes were then correlated with two indicators of well-being in solitude: self-determined motivation for solitude and peaceful mood. Several prominent themes emerged when talking about time spent in solitude. With the exception of feeling competent in solitude, which was described frequently but consistently unrelated to self-reported well-being regardless of age, benefits of solitude tended to shift over the lifespan. Some qualities, such as a sense of autonomy (self-connection and reliance; absence of pressure), were salient and consequential for everyone, but increasingly so from adolescence to older adulthood. Older adults also reported feeling most peaceful in solitude and described their social connection and alienation less frequently, suggesting they see solitude and social time as more distinct states. Findings are discussed in light of existing work on solitude across the lifespan, and theoretical frameworks that spoke well to the data (e.g., self-determination theory).
... The majority of studies on solitude have been conducted with children and adolescents and the relationship of this concept with some mental health problems such as depression (Lau et al., 1999), anxiety , aggression (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995), shyness (Rubin & Coplan, 2010), social withdrawal (Barstead et al., 2017), and social isolation (Rubin et al., 2009) has been examined. On the other hand, some research findings have also shown that a preference for solitude in individuals in the emerging adulthood period has positive consequences for emotion regulation and identity development (Dixon, 2020;Nguyen et al., 2018;Nguyen et al., 2019;Thomas & Azmitia, 2019). The argument that this situation stems from the increasing need for autonomy in individuals in this developmental period is particularly prominent (Nguyen et al., 2019). ...
... When considered from a developmental perspective, individuals in late adolescence and young adulthood benefit more from being in solitude, especially in the areas of mood regulation and identity development, due to their increased autonomy needs and higher levels of abstract thinking capacity (Larson, 1997;Wang et al., 2013). Nguyen et al. (2018) determined that there is a positive relationship between preferring to be alone and general mental health and well-being in the research they conducted with university students in emerging adulthood. In terms of self-determination theory, preferring to be alone helps individuals think about themselves and regulate their emotions (Nguyen et al., 2018;Nguyen et al., 2019;Thomas & Azmitia, 2019). ...
... Nguyen et al. (2018) determined that there is a positive relationship between preferring to be alone and general mental health and well-being in the research they conducted with university students in emerging adulthood. In terms of self-determination theory, preferring to be alone helps individuals think about themselves and regulate their emotions (Nguyen et al., 2018;Nguyen et al., 2019;Thomas & Azmitia, 2019). Young people can dedicate themselves to their thoughts, beliefs, and actions more fully without peer pressure and general life stress (school, work, social groups) when they are alone (Nguyen et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Solitude may often be confused with the concept of loneliness and perceived as a negative experience. However, when solitude is a choice, it can be a growth-creating and healing experience. In this study, a model examining the mediating role of mindfulness in the relationship between the preference for solitude and life satisfaction among university students was tested. A total of 261 university students participated in the study. A personal information form, the Preference for Solitude Scale, the Mindfulness Scale, and the Life Satisfaction Scale were employed to collect data. Results indicated that mindfulness was a significant mediator in the preference for solitude and life satisfaction link.
... Nonetheless, individuals also report lower vitality and motivation during solitary (vs. interactive) activities (e.g., Larson et al., 1985Larson et al., , 1990Nguyen et al., 2018). These nuanced results refute the simple dichotomy of solitude "bad" and social interaction as "good". ...
... According to self-determination theory, autonomy is one of the three basic psychological needs that facilitate optimal human functioning (Ryan & Deci, 2000), and the satisfaction of these needs is associated with immediate positive feelings and long-term physical and psychological benefits (e.g., Ng et al., 2012). Momentary felt autonomy has also been linked with better solitary experiences specifically (Lay et al., 2020;Nguyen et al., 2018). As such, meeting the psychological need for autonomy may help determine whether solitude is experienced positively. ...
... Our findings underscore the importance of felt autonomy in both solitary and interactive contexts. Previous studies have focused on autonomy over the choice between interacting and not interacting with others (Lay et al., 2020;Nguyen et al., 2018). Our studies, however, focus on autonomy over the choice of doing a particular activity (regardless of whether a person wants to do it alone or with others), which may help explain diverging findings in the solitude literature. ...
Article
Full-text available
Solitude––the absence of social interaction––can bring both positive and negative experiences. Drawing on self-determination theory, we conducted three experience sampling studies to investigate quality of experience and dispositions associated with activities varying on two dimensions––chosenness (chosen/unchosen) and social context (solitary/interactive). Participants (total N = 283) completed surveys 6–7 times each day over a 7-day period (total: 8,769 surveys). Multilevel modeling confirmed that participants reported the lowest quality momentary experiences when engaged in unchosen (vs. chosen) solitary activities. Further, individuals who spent more time on unchosen solitary activities reported lower meaning in life and satisfaction with life. Extraversion was positively associated with time spent on chosen interactive activities but negatively with chosen solitary activities. Post hoc analyses revealed that people low (vs. high) in extraversion reported lower productivity only during unchosen interactive activities. Chosen (vs. unchosen) solitary activities seem to have a relatively benign impact on quality of experience and well-being.
... There has been a growing interest in understanding why people spend time alone [1][2][3][4]. This topic is interesting in no small part because pursuits for time alone have been rendered incompatible with our human nature as social organisms [5]. ...
... Yet despite the sociality of people, there are times when people seek time alone because they see it as enjoyable, worthwhile, and valuable. Being motivated to spend time alone for those reasons has been referred to as having selfdetermined motivation for solitude [1,2,6]-a concept that stems from the self-determination theory (SDT) literature [7,8], suggesting that motivation for solitude may be personally endorsed and intrinsically motivated. Evidence is mounting that self-determined motivation for solitude is empirically distinct from merely preferring solitude over social time [1,9,10] but there is little knowledge about what drives people to self-determined motivation for solitude, even when they do not necessarily prefer to be alone. ...
... From the SDT perspective, having high self-determined motivation for being alone represents choosing to spend time alone because solitude offers enjoyment or offers some personal benefits. Researchers who have studied this concept [1,2,6] contrasted self-determined motivation for spending time alone with motivations that are rooted in feeling like one is forced or coerced into aloneness through other individuals or external circumstance (not self-determined solitude). For example, a person with self-determined motivation to spend time alone will take time out of their day to embrace the benefits that solitude brings, such as opportunities for relaxation, creativity or freedom. ...
Article
Full-text available
Within the solitude literature, two discrete constructs reflect different perspectives on how time spent alone is motivated. Self-determined motivation for solitude reflects wanting time alone to find enjoyment and gain meaningful benefits from it, whereas preference for solitude concerns wanting time for oneself over others’ company regardless of reasons for why time alone is wanted. We investigated two personality characteristics: introversion from Big-Five personality theory and dispositional autonomy from self-determination theory. In two diary studies university students completed personality measures and reported about their experiences with time spent alone over a period of seven days. Across both studies, contrary to popular belief that introverts spend time alone because they enjoy it, results showed no evidence that introversion is predictive of either preference or motivation for solitude. Dispositional autonomy–the tendency to regulate from a place of self-congruence, interest, and lack of pressure–consistently predicted self-determined motivation for solitude but was unrelated to preference for solitude. These findings provided evidence supporting the link between valuing time spent alone with individual differences in the capacity to self-regulate in choiceful and authentic way.
... A recent study also found that short-term solitude can increase low-arousal affects such as calmness and peace (Nguyen et al., 2018). ...
... Though solitude can pose potential benefits, it can also foster loneliness, sadness, and psychological angst, especially if the solitude is other-imposed (Coplan & Bowker, 2014;Nguyen et al., 2018;Wilson et al., 2014). Such experience of loneliness poses a risk factor for individuals' psychological ill-being (Heinrich & Gullone, 2006). ...
Article
Although solitude is found to be undesirable to many, systematic practice of it can yield positive psychological outcomes. This mixed-method study explored the process and influence of solitude as a behavioral intervention among youths in a therapeutic community in Hong Kong. Qualitative interviews with 43 youths (67.4% male, mean age = 18.3) revealed that solitude facilitated growth in their sense of personal responsibility, increased perspective-taking, increased respect for rules, change in life attitudes, and growth in consideration of future consequences. A two- wave prospective study (n = 79, 82.3% male, mean age = 17.4) further demonstrated perceived meaningfulness in solitude predicted an increase in consideration of future consequences, but not in other types of behavioral intervention. This study preliminarily demonstrated solitude has beneficial outcomes among high-risk youths, and meaning-making can facilitate this relationship. Keywords
... For example, the benefits of solitude in childhood have been recognized as promoting the development of the self and improving general wellbeing (Galanaki, 2005). It is well accepted that choosing to be alone is an important factor in enjoying aloneness, whereas enforced isolation is much more likely to result in loneliness (Coplan et al., 2019;Chua & Koestner, 2008;Nguyen et al., 2018). Having an existing secure social network may also be important to enjoy solitude (Lay et al., 2019). ...
... Some acknowledge that, like loneliness, solitude has a variety of forms and degrees: solitude can be experienced in the presence of others, such as in a busy cafe (e.g., Lay et al., 2019), or even with an intimate other, seeking separation from the world together (Long & Averill, 2003). Many studies define solitude as being alone voluntarily (e.g., Nguyen et al., 2018;Pauly et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Feelings of isolation have been prevalent worldwide since March 2020 due to COVID‐19 pandemic lockdowns. This has prompted increased concerns about loneliness and related mental health problems. During the first UK COVID‐19 lockdown, 71 participants were asked to share their high and low point stories from lockdown. These were analyzed using thematic analysis to explore how “aloneness” was experienced at this time. A deductive analyses supported three key facets of aloneness reported in the literature: emotional loneliness, social loneliness, and existential loneliness, as well as a more positive form of aloneness, solitude. An inductive analysis identified risk and protective factors for loneliness, comprising worry, lockdown changes, and poor mental health; and social contact, emotional contact, stability and simple life. The study highlights the importance of understanding how facets of aloneness interrelate, and how understanding risk and protective factors can help us to develop social and policy interventions to alleviate loneliness. In particular, solitude is proposed as a potential mechanism for alleviating loneliness, particularly existential loneliness, alongside more common social methods.
... The positive benefits of solitude have been well documented (Coplan et al., 2018;Dixon, 2020;Long & Averill, 2003;Nguyen et al., 2018;Nguyen et al., 2019;Thomas & Azmitia, 2019). Benefits associated with time alone include avoiding over-stimulation (Suedfeld (1982), feelings of calmness (Nguyen et al., 2018), increased creativity (Gong & Xin, 2019;Long & Averill, 2003); Suedfeld, 1982), imaginative involvement (Barabasz, 1991), decreased self-consciousness (Larson, 1990), freedom of mental and physical choice (Long,200), free floating thoughts (Larson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1978), self-examination (Storr, 1989) and reflection (Koch, 1994). ...
... The positive benefits of solitude have been well documented (Coplan et al., 2018;Dixon, 2020;Long & Averill, 2003;Nguyen et al., 2018;Nguyen et al., 2019;Thomas & Azmitia, 2019). Benefits associated with time alone include avoiding over-stimulation (Suedfeld (1982), feelings of calmness (Nguyen et al., 2018), increased creativity (Gong & Xin, 2019;Long & Averill, 2003); Suedfeld, 1982), imaginative involvement (Barabasz, 1991), decreased self-consciousness (Larson, 1990), freedom of mental and physical choice (Long,200), free floating thoughts (Larson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1978), self-examination (Storr, 1989) and reflection (Koch, 1994). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
People vary in the way in which they perceive, process and react to environmental factors, and some are more or less sensitive than others. There is a dearth of research investigating the possible impact that environmental sensitivity has in the postsecondary education context. To address this gap in literature, the following research question was posed: What impact does environmental sensitivity have on student learning in tertiary education? To answer this question a two-stage mixed methods research project was undertaken. The first stage involved two studies which used snowball recruitment via social media, and subject inclusion criteria were current or previous postsecondary education experience. Participants completed on-line surveys. Study One is the design, development and validation of a self-report instrument measuring postsecondary students’ perceptions of their learning success, and participants completed the Perceived Success in Study Survey (PSISS) and associated demographic questions. Two phases were undertaken to check for reliability of results, n=225 and n=237. Reliability statistics found a high level of internal consistency, and principal component analysis identified five factors: Intellectual Stimulation, Generic Skills, Work-life Balance; Commitment to Learning and Learning Community. The PSISS was found to be a comprehensive measure of overall success for postsecondary learners. The participants in Study Two (n=365) completed the PSISS and the 12-item Highly Sensitive Person Scale (HSPS-12, Pluess et al., 2020) and related demographic questions. Independent T-tests, ANOVA and Tukey post-hoc calculations identified that high sensitivity is positively associated with success-promoting attitudes and strategies as identified on three of the five PSISS factors. It also found positive associations between total scores on the PSISS and the sensitivity subscales of Aesthetic Sensitivity and Ease of Excitation (Smolewska et al., 2006). This study included a response field to register interest in participation in further research. Those who responded, and who rated as highly sensitive on the HSPS-12, were invited to take part in a semi-structured interview, leading into the second stage of the project. Thirteen Zoom interviews were conducted with participants from a broad range of geographic locations and levels and fields of study in order to exemplify and elaborate on the quantitative findings. Reflexive inductive thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data, and sixteen codes and three themes were identified. Responses were written vi into a semantic narrative, accompanied by pertinent participant quotations, providing a rich and detailed description of participant experience. The results of this study confirmed that there are educational advantages contingent with high sensitivity, including the use of a broad array of metacognitive study and self-care strategies, and the prioritisation of wellbeing and work-life balance. Conversely, it also found that numerous simultaneous study demands can lead to feelings of overwhelm, however, the participants employed a comprehensive array of metacognitive coping strategies to manage these. Low sensory thresholds associated with high sensitivity can present challenges for highly sensitive students who can be negatively impacted by aspects of the physical learning environments including light, noise, indoor environmental pollutants. Additionally, participants highlighted the need for postsecondary institutions to provide education about environmental sensitivity, to allow flexibility in teaching delivery, to explore options to support students who may struggle with group-work and presentations, and to provide assessment accommodations. Overall, the project has identified a number of positive and negative associations between levels of learner sensitivity and student success and suggests that education about environmental sensitivity for students and teaching staff would be helpful for increasing awareness about the benefits and challenges of environmental sensitivity. Institutional commitment to providing optimal physical learning and social environments may enhance the learning experience for all students. Finally, recommendations for policy, practice and institutions highlight elements that will be of benefit to all students, most especially those who sit at the high end of the sensitivity spectrum.
... In other words, our results suggest that eating alone in a private situation can be used as a strategy to promote healthier eating (Moon et al., 2020). Moreover, it is important to differentiate choosing to eat alone from having to eat alone, as freely choosing to eat alone can reduce stress and make an individual feel relaxed (Nguyen et al., 2018), especially when a diner wants to have a quick meal or freely choose what to eat (Takeda and Melby, 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has associated frequently enforced solo dining with negative consequences on psychological well-being, but the problem of having to eat alone may be solved by seeking mealtime companions in the digital space by watching an eating broadcast (i.e., Mukbang) or videoconferencing with others (i.e., cloud-based commensality). We conducted the present study to compare the consequences of Mukbang-based, cloud-based, and in-person commensality. Ninety-five healthy Chinese young adults were instructed to rate images of eating scenarios and foods. The results revealed that they expected loneliness to be reduced by Mukbang-based or in-person commensality, but they were also aware of the risks of enhancing food intake and/or being shifted toward less healthy food choices in these two scenarios. By contrast, the participants expected cloud-based commensality to provide the benefits of reducing loneliness without the health-compromising risks of increasing food intake or unhealthy eating. Collectively, these findings suggest the beliefs of the participants that cloud-based commensality can provide an “alone but together” context to balance the need for social interactions with the strategic avoidance of a social context facilitating unhealthy eating. The findings also provide some novel insights into how the application of technologies for eating behavior can be used to integrate social factors and food pleasure, and shed light on the promising future of cloud-based commensality as a combination of the strengths of solitary and commensal eating.
... 691). In this way, it may be that spending time alone provides adolescents the ability to self-reflect on their thoughts and feelings, even those that are negative, which can serve as a selfregulatory and developmentally normative function (Nguyen et al., 2018;Thomas & Azmitia, 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on the link between affinity for solitude (a tendency to enjoy time alone) and psychosocial adjustment among adolescents has been mixed; however, this may depend on whether time spent alone is motivated by positive (self-reflection, creative pursuits) or reactive (negative affect, avoiding social interaction) factors. The current study investigated affinity for solitude and motivations for spending time alone among 1072 early to mid-adolescents (Mage = 12.48 years, age range = 10–16, 49.8% female). Higher reactive solitude predicted depressive symptoms, peer victimization, and lower self-esteem, controlling for previous scores on these adjustment indicators. For social anxiety and friendship quality, there were significant 3-way interactions between affinity for solitude, reactive solitude, and frequency of time spent alone, indicating that the relation between affinity for solitude and these latter adjustment indicators depends on why and how often youth spend time alone. Findings indicate that attention should be given to youth who spend time alone for reactive reasons, as this appears to be associated with negative adjustment.
... Fourthly, the frequency of solitude or reasons for spending time alone was not examined beyond the association between affinity for aloneness and social anxiety. It may be that there are a number of motivations for spending time alone that might be associated with psychosocial adjustment (Thomas & Azmitia, 2019), as well as differences in adjustment outcomes based on activities completed during solitude Nguyen et al., 2018Nguyen et al., , 2019. ...
Article
Affinity for aloneness (i.e., an enjoyment of solitude) has been associated with negative adjustment, but it may depend on whether solitude is motivated by social anxiety. Thus, the current study investigated differences in affinity for aloneness in late adolescents and emerging adults while controlling for social anxiety. In a sample of late adolescents (N = 739, Mage = 16 years) and a sample of emerging adults (N = 600, Mage = 25 years), four groups were identified (an Affinity for Aloneness group that was not socially anxious, a Low group that scored low on affinity for aloneness and social anxiety, and two socially anxious groups). The prevalence of the Affinity for Aloneness group was high, and negative adjustment only predicted the likelihood of being in the socially anxious groups. Thus, negative adjustment appears to be linked to social anxiety rather than affinity for aloneness, providing evidence that it is necessary to account for social anxiety when studying affinity for aloneness to avoid over‐pathologizing solitude.
... One promising avenue for taming social overload could be incorporating brief periods of solitude (i.e., the state of being alone and not physically with others; Nguyen et al., 2021) into employees' workday. Recent studies (Nguyen et al., 2018(Nguyen et al., , 2022 demonstrated that even a brief solitude experience (which is distinct from loneliness) is accompanied by a deactivation effect that decreases high-arousal affects that typically characterize the nursing occupation. This brief voluntary alone period could allow nurses to regulate their own emotions and to regain their relatedness balance. ...
Article
Full-text available
Using data from 708 French-Canadian nurses, the present study relies on self-determination theory (SDT) and its proposed motivation mediation model to examine the associations between need satisfaction, work motivation, and various manifestations of psychological wellbeing (work satisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and turnover intentions). To increase the precision and accuracy of these analyses, we relied on analytic approaches that explicitly account for the dual global/specific nature of both work motivation and need satisfaction. Results revealed that nurses’ global psychological need satisfaction, and their specific autonomy and competence satisfaction, were positively associated with their global self-determined work motivation and specific intrinsic motivation. In turn, global self-determined work motivation and specific intrinsic motivation were associated with more desirable outcome levels. Nurses’ global need satisfaction and specific autonomy satisfaction were also directly associated with more desirable outcome levels. Our results provided support for a partially mediated version of SDT’s motivation mediation model.
... In the context of using social software, user experience of intimate or sincere contact with others on the social software platform (Ryan and Deci, 2000) enhances continuous satisfaction of relationship needs and effectively resists frustration, relationship rejection, and loneliness. The use of social software brings users a sense of effectiveness and the satisfaction of achieving expected results so that the ability needs can be met continuously (Nguyen et al., 2018), thereby reducing the feeling of failure resulting from ability setbacks and doubts about effectiveness of an individual. In the interaction with social software, user experience of self-determination, complete will, and determination satisfies the autonomy needs continuously, thereby effectively resisting external pressure or self-imposed pressure and then controlling own emotions of an individual. ...
Article
Full-text available
Qualitative research method was used to explore the formation and development of the attachment relationship between users and social media in the process of using social media. Based on the attachment theory, this study selected three representative social media platforms, namely, TikTok, WeChat, and MicroBlog, as theoretical samples, and this study adopted NVivo12.0 to root, theorize, and construct the original data. Research shows that users are stimulated by co-creation value to stimulate changes in their psychological needs and self-expression, leading to the formation of social attachment. Among them, user participation is a prerequisite for driving the occurrence of co-creation value, creating a continuous-use scenario for the attachment relationship between individuals and social media. Further, psychological needs and self-expression play mediating roles between co-creation of value and social attachment and promote the occurrence of personal belonging to software platforms. The findings of this research better our understandings about the mechanism of developing social attachment from continuous use of social media and offer practical implications for commercial uses of social media platforms.
... hedonic) consumption orientation compared to group diners [5], and whether the effect is conditioned on the amount of nutrition information 허은솔·Carl Behnke·Barbara Almanza·157 in the menu [22]. That is, it is plausible that consumers with dining partners may enjoy more experiential dimensions of restaurant dining that result in pleasure and excitement (i.e., hedonic consumption), while solo dining may be more associated with calmness and the achievement of necessary goals such as fulfilling basic food needs (i.e., utilitarian consumption) [5,[23][24][25][26][27][28]. Such difference in consumption orientation between solo and group diners may lead to their different menu item decisions. ...
... Solitude has been conceptualized as 'a state of relative social disengagement, usually characterized by decreased social inhibitions and increased freedom to choose one's mental and physical activities' (Long and Averill 2003, p. 37). While benefits of solitude have not been widely researched, it has been linked to reconstruction of cognitive structures, novel thoughts, creativity, freedom, enhanced spirituality, contemplation, reflection, decreased self-consciousness, self-regulation of affective experiences, and intimacy (Long and Averill 2003;Nguyen et al. 2018). Solitude can also facilitate self-attunement, resulting in better knowledge of self and self-acceptance (Bruce et al. 2010;Koch 1994). ...
Article
Full-text available
While interest in wellbeing has grown immensely among practitioners and researchers across various disciplines, there is limited understanding of how lay people, particularly emerging adults, conceptualise and experience wellbeing. Exploring the lived experiences of wellbeing can offer insight into the context within which emerging adults understand and manage their health as well as help facilitate a more dynamic understanding of the processes of their wellbeing. Using a participant-driven photo-elicitation interviewing method, this study explored how emerging adults understand and manage wellbeing in their daily lives. Eighteen emerging adults in South-East Queensland took pictures capturing their understanding of wellbeing and attended in-depth interviews to discuss the meaning of their photographs. Thematic analysis revealed five themes important to wellbeing: maintaining supportive relationships, looking after yourself, accepting yourself, progressing yourself, and centreing yourself. Participants discussed how these elements contributed to their wellbeing, demonstrating that wellbeing was perceived and experienced as a multifaceted, dynamic, and fluid construct. Maintaining supportive relationships was viewed by participants as the most crucial to wellbeing. The findings offer insight into how emerging adults understand and manage wellbeing in their daily lives. The findings can inform the development of population-acceptable health promotion interventions aligned with the views and experiences of emerging adults.
... Most research has revealed that a preference to spend time alone instead of with others is often associated with psychological problems such as social anxiety and shyness (Leary, 1983), and poor social skills (Sloan & Solano, 1984). Alternatively, the preference for solitude is also associated with positive experiences such as privacy, relaxation, self-reflection, creativity and emotional regulation Nguyen et al., 2018). Similarly, comfort with solitude and time spent alone is sometimes related to well-being (Larson & Lee, 1996). ...
Article
Full-text available
With the COVID-19 outbreak, the population was suddenly forced to "stay at home". Although research suggests that social isolation affects health and wellbeing, reactions may vary depending on individuals. The current study assessed the relationships between personality variables (preference for solitude and Big Five personality), mental health (anxiety, stress, loneliness), and creativity, and tried to determine whether the identified personality profiles affect individuals' mental health and creativity. French respondents (N = 430) filled in an online questionnaire during the first lockdown in Spring 2020. The results showed that the preference for solitude and personality variables of the Big Five predicted individuals' mental health and creativity. Moreover, a cluster analysis revealed three profiles of individuals: "Affiliation", "Emotionally Stable Lonely" and "Emotionally Unstable Lonely". Results showed that individuals with "Affiliation" and "Emotionally Unstable Lonely" profiles expressed higher stress and anxiety, and the latter performed better on a divergent creative thinking task. By contrast, those with an "Emotionally Stable Lonely" profile expressed a lower level of loneliness, and performed better on a creative insight task. These findings reveal the importance of personality profiles in psychological reactions during lockdowns. With this knowledge, health professionals could develop appropriate interventions to accompany high-risk individuals in situations of social isolation. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12144-021-01885-3.
... While being alone all of the time is associated with poorer health and wellbeing (Larson, 1997), it may be better than an uncomfortable or unwelcoming social environment. Voluntary solitude is associated with wellbeing (Nguyen, Ryan, & Deci, 2017). The key point is that participants expressed the desire to be listened to and supported in their wishes (see also Kellezi, Wakefield, et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Belonging to groups can significantly affect people's health and well-being for the better ('the social cure') or worse ('the social curse'). Encouraging people to join groups is a central component of the Social Prescribing movement; however, not everyone who might benefit from Social Prescribing aspires to participating in groups. This study aims to identify what barriers are preventing people from experiencing the associated health and well-being benefits of group belonging. Method: Semi-structured interviews analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Participants were 11 white British people (aged 48-86), 1 male and 10 female, recruited by a charity partner of a Social Prescribing project. Results: The themes derived from the interviews are as follows: (1) 'The dread, the fear of being in a group': When groups do not meet needs; (2) 'I can remember as quite a young child backing out of things': Accumulative barriers over the lifetime, and (3) 'I'm singing away and feeling terribly miserable': the challenges of fitting in with others in groups. The themes reflect how people can feel deterred from social interaction, which interferes with their ability to derive a sense of belonging or shared identity associated with the 'social cure'. Conclusions: A key challenge for Social Prescribing is to meet the social needs of people disinclined to join groups; groups can be detrimental to health and well-being if there are barriers to integration. Alternative ways of structuring groups or activities may be more effective and can still avail of the belonging and identity associated with 'the social cure'.
... Solitude has also been associated with both negative and positive emotional experiences. Specifically, it has been linked with low life satisfaction, decreased levels of high-arousal positive affective states (such as excitement), and increased levels of low-arousal negative affective states (such as sadness) on the negative end of the spectrum, and with increased levels of low-arousal positive affective states (e.g., calm) on the positive end of the spectrum (age range of samples: 18-88 years; Lam & Garcia-Roman, 2019;Larson et al., 1985;Milek et al., 2018;Nguyen et al., 2017). These findings suggest that solitude can go along with heterogeneous emotional experiences that may reflect very different activities, including rumination, creativity, and spirituality (Long & Averill, 2003). ...
Chapter
Most adults spend a significant amount of their time alone. The present chapter calls for conceptual clarity regarding the distinct nature of solitude relative to other related constructs such as social isolation and loneliness. It also provides insight into unique links with physical and mental health, with a specific focus on older adults, before moving on to address why it may be important to disentangle processes that occur on different time scales. A review of prominent aging models offers potential explanations for the tremendous heterogeneity in solitude‐affect quality links along with potential moderators. We close by highlighting challenges that need to be overcome to move the field forward.
... Averill and Sundararajan (2014) argue that the spiritual value of solitude comes from a relational soft reset, allowing one to focus on cultivating one's relationships with higher or greater sources of meaning. Solitude is often pursued as a strategy for affective selfregulation, a way to recover from intense emotional experiences (Nguyen et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
The physical distancing measures necessitated by COVID-19 have resulted in a severe withdrawal from the patterns of daily life, necessitating significantly reduced contact with other people. To many, such withdrawal can be a major cause of distress. But, to some, this sort of withdrawal is an integral part of growth, a pathway to a more enriching life. The present study uses a sequential explanatory QUAN-qual design to investigate whether people who felt that their lives had changed for the better after being forced to engage in physical distancing, what factors predicted such well-being, and how they spent their time to generate this sense of well-being. We invited 614 participants who reported closely following physical distancing recommendations to complete a survey exploring this topic. Our analyses, after controlling for all other variables in the regression model, found a greater positive association between presence of meaning in life, coping style, and self-transcendent wisdom and residualized current well-being accounting for retrospective assessments of well-being prior to physical distancing. An extreme-case content analysis of participants' personal projects found that participants with low self-transcendent wisdom reported more survival-oriented projects (e.g., acquiring groceries or engaging in distracting entertainments), while participants reporting high self-transcendent wisdom reported more projects involving deepening interactions with other people, especially family. Our findings suggest a more nuanced pathway from adversity to a deeper sense of well-being by showing the importance of not merely coping with adversity, but truly transcending it.
... Moreover, PS provides freedom from everyday responsibilities and decision-making, promoting a decrease in stress and maintaining well-being (Lay et al., 2019). PS also leads to introspection (Ost Mor et al., 2020a), self-regulation (Nguyen et al., 2018), creativity (Nicole, 2005), and has been associated with high self-efficacy (Lay et al., 2019). A study examining solitude among older adults found that 86% of solitude-seeking was voluntary among older people (Lay et al., 2020). ...
Article
The current study examined how reported early life experiences of isolation encountered by Holocaust survivors affect the relationship between their current feeling of loneliness/feeling of positive solitude and their level of posttraumatic stress symptoms. To this end, using a convenient sampling methodology 81 community-dwelling older adults reported the number of years they had been alone or the level of loneliness they had experienced during the Holocaust, their level of current loneliness/positive solitude, and their level of posttraumatic stress symptoms. More years spent alone during the Holocaust were related to a stronger positive association between loneliness and posttraumatic stress symptoms; feeling lonelier was also related to a stronger negative association between positive solitude and posttraumatic stress symptoms. The findings emphasize that survivors who reported more years of isolation during the Holocaust are prone to be more sensitive when associated with current loneliness to the deleterious results of posttraumatic stress symptoms. However, survivors who felt lonelier during the Holocaust demonstrate lower levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms when reporting on a higher level of positive solitude. Intervention focus on improving positive solitude capability may become beneficial for those suffering from loneliness and posttraumatic stress symptoms.
... Individuals differ widely in the degree of social interaction, as some of them have a strong desire for social contact, whereas others may be less desired to interact with people (Leary et al., 2003). People even choose to be isolated, as solitude provides people with opportunities and freedom to engage in activities for enjoyment, relaxation, and alleviating stress (Long & Averill, 2003;Nguyen et al., 2018). Even though solitary activity has no or limited social interaction with others, it can be beneficial for people's psychological wellbeing (Burke, 1992). ...
Article
Social isolation has been recognized as a critical public health problem. As the most vulnerable population, older adults are disproportionately affected by social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purposes of this study were to examine the association between social isolation and loneliness among U.S. older adults and to explore the moderating effect of solitary activity by using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Social isolation was measured by six indicators, including marital status, living arrangement, social participation in any clubs or social organizations, and the frequency of social contact with children, family members, and friends. Loneliness was assessed by eleven questions derived from the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Solitary activity included 11 types of activities that respondents could perform alone with limited or no social interaction. Results from the multivariate regression analyses indicated that unmarried status and lower frequency of social contact were associated with more perceived loneliness. Solitary activity significantly moderated the negative effects of the low frequency of social contact with family members on loneliness. The findings implicate that social work programs and interventions can aim to expand social networks and provide more opportunities for solitary activities, particularly for isolated older adults.
... For instance, previous studies have found that high preference for solitude not only had a positive after effect on emotional state (Larson, 1997) but also can improve human beings' well-being (Burger, 1995). Most recently, researchers have also found that high preference for solitude could lead to relaxation as well as reduction in stress (Nguyen et al., 2017). Furthermore, Coplan et al. (2019) integrated research on preference for solitude in the context of Western cultures, and further proposed a speculative theoretical model of the developmental timing effects for preference for solitude, which postulates non-linear variations in the implications of high preference for solitude in the process of individual development. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: With the increasing incidence of mobile phone addiction, the potential risk factors of mobile phone addiction have attracted more and more researchers’ attention. Although various personality trait factors have been proven to be significant predictors of mobile phone addiction, limited attention has been paid to preference for solitude. Considering the adverse impacts of preference for solitude in the context of collectivistic societies and its possible negative effect on mobile phone addiction, this study was designed to examine the relationship between preference for solitude and mobile phone addiction, and to test the mediating role of psychological distress and the moderating role of mindfulness in this relationship. Methods: Data were collected through convenience sampling from a comprehensive university in China. A total of 927 Chinese college students (371 males and 556 females), aged from 16 to 24 ( M age = 19.89 years, SD = 1.22), participated in this study. Their preference for solitude, psychological distress, mindfulness, and mobile phone addiction were measured using well-validated self-report questionnaires. Results: Correlational analyses, sobel test, SPSS macro PROCESS (Model 8) and simple slopes analyses were used for major data analysis. Results showed that preference for solitude was significantly and positively associated with mobile phone addiction, and this link could be mediated by psychological distress. Moreover, the indirect effect of psychological distress in this link was moderated by mindfulness, with this effect being stronger for college students with lower levels of mindfulness. However, mindfulness can not moderate the direct relation between preference for solitude and mobile phone addiction. Conclusion: The present study broadened our knowledge of how and when (or for whom) preference for solitude is related to mobile phone addiction. Education professionals and parents should pay special attention to the psychological distress and mobile phone addiction of college students with high levels of preference for solitude, particularly for those with lower levels of mindfulness.
... For example, higher levels of understanding of others' mental states may also be related to higher levels of emotional sensitivity that may lead one to feel psychologically isolated and vulnerable (Bosacki et al., 2019). Given the constructive value of solitude in that it may promote reflection and self-regulation (Larson, 1997;Nguyen et al., 2018), more research is needed to explore the motivations for adolescents to be silent and alone. Motivations to engage in constructive solitude may include the need to reflect and create which is more likely to lead to feelings of well-being, self-compassion and happiness (Bosacki et al., 2019;Nguyen et al., 2019). ...
Chapter
This chapter explores how loneliness, alienation and solitude set their stamp on ‘quiet professionalism’ in a climate of neoliberalism. This theme is considered in the context of a higher education system that is increasingly associated with efficiency, effectiveness and ‘time-management’ rather than passion or vocation. Departing from the example of Greta Garbo, who famously declared that she wanted to be let alone, the authors explore how the notion of correspondence – with its echoes of response, responsibility and responsiveness – sheds new light on the state of being ‘alone together’ as conducive to the freedom to think. They explore attacks on subjectivity through a novel reading of the psychoanalytical notion of impingement. This is considered against the background of a form of alone/togetherness that arises in and through a quest for ethical forms of collaboration.
... Some acknowledge that, like loneliness, solitude has a variety of forms and degrees: solitude can be experienced in the presence of others, such as in a busy cafe (e.g., Lay et al., 2019), or even with an intimate other, seeking separation from the world together (Long & Averill, 2003). Many studies define solitude as being alone voluntarily (e.g., Nguyen et al., 201 ;Pauly et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Feelings of isolation have been prevalent worldwide since March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. This has prompted increased concerns about loneliness and related mental health problems. During the first UK COVID-19 lockdown, 71 participants were asked to share their high and low point stories from lockdown. These were analyzed using thematic analysis to explore how “aloneness” was experienced at this time. A deductive analyses supported three key facets of aloneness reported in the literature: emotional loneliness, social loneliness, and existential loneliness, as well as a more positive form of aloneness, solitude. An inductive analysis identified risk and protective factors for loneliness, comprising worry, lockdown changes, and poor mental health; and social contact, emotional contact, stability and simple life. The study highlights the importance of understanding how facets of aloneness interrelate, and how understanding risk and protective factors can help us to develop social and policy interventions to alleviate loneliness. In particular, solitude is proposed as a potential mechanism for alleviating loneliness, particularly existential loneliness, alongside more common social methods.
... Notwithstanding, research also documents desired effects for solitude, stressing its contribution to well-being. Time alone arises in these studies as an opportunity to relax, regulate emotions, and reflect on one's life, thus enhancing and consolidating one's selfhood (Coplan & Bowker, 2014;Long & Averill, 2003;Nguyen et al., 2018;Pauly et al., 2018;Uziel, 2021). The factors that determine the nature of the alone experience are the focus of emerging yet still indecisive research (Coplan et al., 2019;Lay et al., 2018;Uziel et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Stable social relationships are conducive to well-being. However, similar effects are not reported consistently for daily social interactions in affecting episodic (experiential) subjective well-being (ESWB). The present investigation suggests that the choice of being in a social context plays an important moderating role, such that social interactions increase ESWB only if taken place by one's choice. Moreover, it is argued that choice matters more in a social context than in an alone context because experiences with others are amplified. These ideas were tested and supported in two studies: An experiment that manipulated social context and choice status, and a 10-day experience-sampling study, which explored these variables in real-life settings. Results showed that being with others by one’s choice had the strongest positive association with ESWB, sense of meaning, and control, whereas being with others not by one’s choice—the strongest negative association with ESWB. Effects of being alone on ESWB also varied by choice status, but to a lesser extent. The findings offer theoretical and practical insights into the effects of the social environment on well-being.
... One view holds that solitude is a state of lacking social interaction and contributes to alienation and distress. The other view supports the idea that solitude satisfies developmental needs and serves creative insight and positive self-discovery (Buchholz & Chinlund, 1994;Larson, 1990;Nguyen et al., 2017). Nicol (1999) revised previous work and developed the Motivation for Solitude Scale, which classified solitude into self-determined solitude and not self-determined solitude according to self-determination theory. ...
Article
Recently, nomophobia (separation anxiety from mobile phone) has become a common phenomenon. The authors’ main purpose was to explore latent classes of solitude behaviors and how they are related to nomophobia. Chinese versions of the Nomophobia Scale and the Solitude Behaviour Scale were used in a sample of college students (351 female and 327 male). Latent class analysis, analysis of variance, and regression analysis were employed to classify solitude behaviors and explore the relationship between solitude and nomophobia. A six-class model best fit the data (BIC = 60086.49). Significant differences among the classes were found on nomophobia. Loneliness, social avoidance, and eccentricity significantly predicted nomophobia. Solitude behaviors of college students can be divided into six latent classes. The classes with a high response preference for solitude scored higher on nomophobia, especially the fear of losing an Internet connection. Not self-determined solitude and negative-solitude had a positive effect on nomophobia.
... This suggest that not just social interaction but also solitude might be an integral and important part of older adults' daily life (Coplan et al., 2019), as solitude provides an opportunity for recovery from energy depletion associated with social interactions . Research shows that solitude is functional as an adaptive emotional regulatory means to help individuals return to quiet or calm affect after an excitement or angry episode (Nguyen et al., 2018). Moreover, being in solitude due to autonomous motivation is associated with personal well-being (Lay et al., 2020;Nguyen et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Time spent on being with others (social interactions) and being alone (solitude) in day to day life might reflect older adults' agentic regulatory strategies to balance the needs to belong and to conserve energy. Motivated from a joint lifespan psychological and social relationship theoretical perspective, this study examined how time spent on social interactions and solitude alternatively unfolds within individuals in daily life, relating to individual differences in trait‐level well‐being and fatigue. Over 21 days, a total of 11,172 valid records of social interactions were collected from 118 older adults (aged 65–94 years) in a smartphone‐based event‐contingent ambulatory assessment study in Switzerland. On average, a social interaction episode lasted 39 min and a solitude episode lasted 5.03 hr. Multilevel models showed that, at the within‐person level, a longer‐than‐usual social interaction preceded and was followed by a longer‐than‐usual solitude episode. Moderator analyses showed that older adults with higher trait life satisfaction and lower trait fatigue spent even more time in social interactions after longer solitude episodes, amplifying the solitude‐then‐interaction association. Our findings suggest that whereas social interaction is a means to improve well‐being, solitude is also an integral part in older adults' daily life supporting energy recovery.
... It is not surprising to find that positive solitude has been identified as a source for resilience during social restrictions (31). In general, it is associated with wellbeing and better emotion regulation and introspection (32,33). Moreover, a high capacity of solitude was associated with low levels of depression (34) and post-traumatic stress symptoms (35). ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: The aim of the current study was to identify difficulties in adapting to normal life once COVID-19 lockdown has been lifted. Israel was used as a case study, as COVID-19 social restrictions, including a nation-wide lockdown, were lifted almost completely by mid-April 2021, following a large-scale vaccination operation. Methods: A sample of 293 mid-age and older Israeli adults (M age = 61.6 ± 12.8, range 40-85 years old) reported on return-to-routine adaptation difficulties (on a novel index), depression, positive solitude, and several demographic factors. Results: Of the participants, 40.4% met the criteria of (at least) mild depressive symptoms. Higher levels of adaptation difficulties were related to higher ratios of clinical depressive symptoms. This link was moderated by positive solitude. Namely, the association between return-to-routine adaptation difficulties and depression was mainly indicated for individuals with low positive solitude. Conclusions: The current findings are of special interest to public welfare, as adaptation difficulties were associated with higher chance for clinical depressive symptoms, while positive solitude was found to be as an efficient moderator during this period. The large proportion of depressive symptoms that persist despite lifting of social restrictions should be taken into consideration by policy makers when designing return-to-routine plans.
... Research on enjoyment and happiness during solitude is mixed. Time alone, even when chosen, tends to be associated with negative mood (Larson, 1990), and periods of daily solitude correspond to increases in low arousal affective states, both negative (e.g., sad and sleepy) and positive (e.g., calm and relaxed) (Nguyen et al., 2018;Pauly et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on solitude in older adulthood is scarce, and findings are mixed on whether time alone at this age is risky or beneficial. A mixed-method study was conducted to examine patterns of motivations for solitude among senior living residents (N = 397, Mage = 83) and associations with well-being. Cluster analyses identified four motiva- tional profiles: Low, Positive, Negative, and Dual. Overall, those with Low and Positive motivations for solitude displayed greater levels of well-being on both hedonic (e.g., life satisfaction) and eudaimonic (e.g., personal growth) measures; in particular, the Positive profile showed significantly higher levels of psychological richness. Themes drawn from responses to open-ended survey questions asking about the benefits and challenges of both socializing and being alone are discussed in light of the four motivational profiles, and implications for aging services are discussed.
... Positive solitude is individuals' purposeful and active choice accompanied by positive affect experience (28). It does not only help individuals to introspect, self-regulate and enhance creativity (27)(28)(29), but also plays an important and active role in the mental health of individuals. Moreover, positive solitude may also have great importance during the recurrent outbreak of COVID-19. ...
Article
Full-text available
The current study aimed to identify latent profiles of positive solitude during the recurrent outbreak of COVID-19 among Chinese adults. A total of 902 adults from China completed the questionnaires. We found five different profiles of positive solitude: low positive solitude group, medium-low positive solitude group, quietness positive solitude group, medium-high positive solitude group, and high positive solitude group. Positive and negative affect were significantly different from the five profiles. In addition, gender had different effects on different positive solitude profiles. The results of the study provide a new perspective to understand the positive solitude of Chinese adults during the recurrent outbreak of COVID-19 by using the people-centered approach.
... For mothers who have low solitude preference, passive solitude will aggravate their negative psychological changes after being stressed. Previous studies have confirmed that for individuals, too much time alone may be related to depression (deVries et al., 1987), and may also increase individual negative emotions and feelings of loneliness (Larson et al., 1985;Chui et al., 2014;Nguyen et al., 2017;Lay et al., 2020). In a marriage relationship, excessive passive loneliness may make mothers feel alienated and neglected by their husbands. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the mechanism of maternal parenting stress on marital satisfaction based on the Vulnerability-Stress-Adaptation Model (VSAM), and draws on the needs theory to explore the role of alone time in marital relationships under different solitude preferences. The marital satisfaction Scale, Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS), Parenting Stress Scale (PSS), Preference for Solitude Scale (PSS), and alone time scale were used to conduct a questionnaire survey of 1,387 Chinese mothers in their parenting stage. The results found that: (1) in the overall group and the high and low solitude preference level group, depression plays a significant mediating role between parenting stress and marital satisfaction. (2) For mothers who prefer solitude, alone time can reduce the positive impact of parenting stress on depression, and but it cannot alleviate the negative impact of parenting stress and depression on marital satisfaction. (3) In the low solitude preference level group, alone time can aggravate the positive impact of parenting stress on depression and the negative impact of parenting stress on marital satisfaction.
... These findings are in line with previous studies that did not find differences between unsociable and nonwithdrawn children in terms of anxiety, loneliness, or depression and are in support of the relatively benign nature of this form of social withdrawal (Coplan et al., 2021(Coplan et al., , 2013Daly & Willoughby, 2020). Unsociable children are thought to have an intrinsic motivation to spend time or play alone, valuing the experiences of being alone (Nguyen et al., 2018). For instance, Bowker and Raja (2011) did not report significant associations between unsociability and loneliness and peer rejection in early adolescents in India. ...
... SDT stated that self-determined motivation, as driven by the three basic psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, relatedness, and competence), leads to self-determined behaviors, and it is the self-determined behaviors that are essential for one's health and well-being. Confirmed by empirical evidence, self-determined motivation for solitude was associated with more adaptive outcomes such as higher personal growth and self-acceptance (Thomas & Azmitia, 2019) and lower stress and higher well-being (Nguyen et al., 2018a(Nguyen et al., , 2018b). In contrast, controlled motivation for solitude involves less internalized extrinsic motivation, such as reasons controlled by the desire to escape from the uncomfortableness or anxiety while being with others. ...
Article
Full-text available
The consequences of solitude depend on one’s preference and motivations for solitude, some of which correlate with high psychological risks (e.g., loneliness, depression) with others relating to low risk or benefits. When life is suffused with stress, people are used to escaping and seeking solitude time for restoration, which is especially true for established adults who are burdened with the heaviest care responsibilities and work stress. However, little is known about the development of preference and motivations for solitude in established adulthood. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the level of preference and motivations for solitude and their potential antecedents and consequences in established (aged 30–45) adulthood as compared to emerging (aged 18–29) and midlife adulthood (aged 46–64). We recruited 465 young to middle-aged adults from MTurk and an undergraduate class (Fall 2019). Preference and motivations for solitude were measured with the Preference for Solitude Scale and the Motivation for Solitude Scale-Short Form. Well-being and social measures were included as potential consequences and sociodemographic, psychological, and physical measures as potential antecedents. Results showed that both preference for solitude and controlled motivation peaked in established adulthood. Same as adjacent adulthood phases, in established adulthood (a) preference for solitude related to mildly compromised well-being, (b) controlled motivation was robustly associated with worse well-being, and (c) self-determined motivation was consistently associated with better well-being. Antecedences for preference and motivations for solitude showed distinctiveness for each adulthood phase. Future interventions on well-being should focus on controlled motivation for solitude and established adults.
Article
What does it mean to be in solitude? Researchers building this nascent field are learning much about the potential affordances of solitude, but lack an agreed-upon definition or set of definitions. Arriving at that meaning is crucial to forming a solid foundation for studies that use both naturalistic and laboratory designs to explore outcomes of solitude. This study identified themes from semi-structured interviews with adults aged 19 to 80 from diverse backgrounds. We concluded that solitude is a state in which the dominant relationship is with the self. If not physically alone, people in solitude are mentally distanced from others and away from active technology-mediated interactions. Complete solitude involves both physical separation and inner focus, but solitude is best defined through a taxonomy that recognizes physical separation and internal focus as independent, sufficient characteristics. An internal focus benefits from (but is not defined by) balancing solitude with social time, quiet, and choice.
Article
Recent evidence suggests that older adults experience momentary states of spending time alone (i.e., solitude) less negatively than younger adults. The current research explores the role of autonomy as an explanation mechanism of these age differences. Previous research demonstrated that solitude can be experienced positively when it is characterized by autonomy (i.e., the own wish or decision to be alone). As older adults are relatively more autonomous in their daily lives, they might experience solitude less negatively (in terms of subjective well-being, social integration, self-esteem, and valence) than younger adults. We tested this hypothesis in three studies. In two experience-sampling studies (Study 1: N = 129, 59.7% women, age 19–88 years; Study 2: N = 115, 66.4% women, age 18–85 years), older age and higher autonomy were associated with more positive experience of everyday solitude moments. Although autonomy did not differ between younger and older adults, perceived (lack of) autonomy partly played a more important role for the experience of solitude moments in younger adults compared to older adults. Finally, Study 3 (N = 323, 52% women, age 19–79 years) showed that the relationship between recalled solitude moments of high versus low autonomy and solitude experience is fully explained by feelings of autonomy. Overall, our results demonstrate that older people do not experience more autonomy in situations of solitude than younger adults, but that they partly better cope with low-autonomy solitude. However, people of all ages seem to benefit more from high-autonomy moments of solitude.
Article
A multi-wave study across two months tested changes in motivation for staying at home at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK and US in 683 living-alone older adults (mean age = 53 years), those that might experience greater psychological costs of being isolated for long periods of time. The study was focused on changes in two types of motivation: autonomous motivation- finding importance in the task of staying at home, and controlled motivation- staying at home because of felt pressure or choicelessness, as autonomous motivation predicts effective behavior change better than controlled motivation, especially long-term. Predictions grounded in self-determination theory (SDT) tested whether three motivating aspects of messages to stay at home from governmental and public health agencies, physicians, the news, and family and friends predicted changes in these motivations across time. Perceiving messages to stay at home as controlling predicted increases in controlled motivation and decreases in autonomous motivation over two months. Conversely, perceiving messages to stay at home as autonomy supportive predicted increases in autonomous motivation over two months. Results for mandated orders to stay at home were intriguing: they related to increases in both controlled and autonomous motivations over time. Exploratory analyses revealed that increases in autonomous motivation over time predicted actual time spent at home reported at Wave 2, whereas increases in controlled motivation did not relate. Discussion focuses on contributions to theory and public health messaging about behavioral change.
Article
In this study, we examined how technology impacts adolescents’ perceptions of, and affective responses to solitude, as well as how adolescents’ own motivations for solitude (shyness, affinity for aloneness) were related to these reactions. Participants were N = 437 adolescents (297 girls; M age = 16.15 years, standard deviation ( SD) = .50) who were presented with a series of hypothetical vignettes asking them to imagine themselves in the context of pure solitude (alone in their room with the door closed), as well as being physically alone but engaged in increasing levels of virtual social engagement, including passive (e.g., watching videos, scrolling, but no direct social engagement), active (e.g., texting), and audio-visual (e.g., Facetime) technology use. Following each vignette, participants reported their perceptions of being alone and positive/negative affective responses. We also measured general motivations for solitude (shyness, affinity for aloneness). Among the results, adolescents perceived themselves as less alone in vignettes depicting increasing virtual social engagement. Affective benefits of increased virtual engagement were also found (e.g., less loneliness/boredom/sadness, greater social connection/contentment). However, these effects were moderated by solitude motivations, with different patterns evident as a function of participant shyness and affinity for aloneness. Findings highlight the importance of considering the nature of adolescents’ technology use when alone, as well as motivations for solitude, when considering links between solitude and well-being.
Article
Aloneliness is the negative psychological state characterized by dissatisfaction with one's lack of solitude, which is connected to well‐being deficits (e.g., depression, stress). From an I3 theory perspective, we expected that aloneliness could predict anger and partner‐directed aggression among persons in romantic relationships, who must, by nature of their partnership, dedicate time to their romantic partners. In Studies 1a and 1b (N = 554), trait aloneliness positively correlated with trait anger, aggression, and violence, but more strongly among persons in relationships (vs. single persons). In Study 2, aloneliness was experimentally primed among 93 undergraduates in relationships. When aloneliness was salient (vs. a control), participants reported higher anger and used more pins in a partner‐representative voodoo doll. These results suggest that solitude is an inhibiting factor against anger and, potentially, the perpetration of partner‐directed aggression. Although subsequent work in this area is needed, we add evidence showing the importance of individual differences in the need for solitude.
Chapter
Social withdrawal is defined as the process of removing oneself from opportunities for social interactions (Coplan and Rubin, 2010). Historically, social withdrawal has been conceptualized as a broad risk factor for negative peer experiences (e.g., exclusion, victimization) and internalizing problems (e.g., anxiety, depression) (Rubin et al., 2009). Contemporary researchers now espouse more complex conceptual models to describe social withdrawal, shifting from a unidimensional to a multidimensional approach (Asendorpf, 1990; Coplan et al., 2015a). As a result, contemporary researchers now conceptualize three subtypes of social withdrawal (shyness, unsociability, and social avoidance) that have different underlying emotional, motivational, and psychological substrates, and are uniquely related to indices of socio-emotional functioning (e.g., Coplan et al., 2018a). The aim of this article is to describe the different subtypes of social withdrawal and their socio-emotional characteristics in childhood and adolescence.
Article
Objective Considering the interdependence between close partners, the present study examined how the amount of one's alone time was related to both one's own and the partner's relationship satisfaction in married couples. It also tested how attachment style moderated the within- and cross-partner associations between the experience of solitude and marital satisfaction. Background Solitude reflects a status of being alone without any active social interactions. It can be related to either positive or negative affects depending on the circumstances. The role that solitude plays in close relationships is understudied in previous research. Method Using data from 105 married couples from mainland China, both actor and partner effects and the moderating effect of attachment style were tested using the moderated actor–partner interdependence model (MAPIM). Results Two cross-partner interactions between solitude and attachment style on husbands' marital satisfaction were identified. When wives reported high anxiety, the more husbands spent alone time, the lower was their reported marital satisfaction. When husbands reported high avoidance, the more wives spent time alone, the higher was their husbands reported marital satisfaction. No significant association between solitude and wives' marital satisfaction was found. Conclusions and Implications The results reveal the intricate role that solitude plays in marital relationships and highlight the importance to consider cross-partner effects when studying dyadic interactions.
Article
During the COVID‐19 pandemic, quarantine has been implemented as a physical distancing measure to reduce the risk of transmission. However, no studies have examined the relationship between quarantine and daily affective experiences. Few studies have examined the individual‐level factors that may alleviate or strengthen the negative impact of quarantine on daily affective experiences. To this end, we conducted a diary study by comparing the affective experiences of people in quarantine with those of people not subject to quarantine. There were 201 participants in the study. After the pretest collecting responses on demographic information and entity theory of emotion, the participants completed a daily questionnaire measuring their daily positive and negative affect for 14 consecutive days. The results of hierarchical linear modeling showed that the participants in the quarantine condition reported less daily positive affect than those in the social interaction condition. We found that when the participants under quarantine believed more strongly that their emotions could not be changed, they reported a higher level of daily negative affect. These findings demonstrate the role of entity theory of emotion in understanding daily negative affect during quarantine.
Thesis
Full-text available
Informal caregivers represent around 26% (13.6 million) of the UK population. Alongside the known health and wellbeing consequences of caregiving, caregivers have been identified as being at higher risk of loneliness. However, current research among caregivers is inadequate. Mostly, specific subgroups of caregivers are analysed in isolation (e.g. dementia caregivers or spousal caregivers), and therefore the diverse caregiving population is under-represented in the literature. Specifically, there is a lack of evidence on the determinants of loneliness among caregivers. What limited research that has been conducted, suggests that the typical determinants applicable to the general population are not consistent amongst caregivers. Therefore, because caregiving-specific risk factors are not clearly understood, support services and policy-makers cannot work to effectively prevent loneliness. Furthermore, individually, both caregiving and loneliness are associated with adverse health and wellbeing outcomes, but there is an absence of research investigating the impact on health and wellbeing for caregivers who are lonely. It is hypothesised that the combined impact of loneliness and caregiving could have worse health and wellbeing outcomes than either characteristic alone. Using quantitative secondary data analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, this thesis explored, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, the effects of caregiving on loneliness. This thesis addressed the aforementioned research gaps by comparing a wide range of caregivers, including those providing care at different intensities, and to a variety of care recipients. Additionally, caregiving-specific determinants of loneliness were investigated, as well as examining how the health and wellbeing impacts of loneliness differed between caregivers and non-caregivers. The results indicated that caregiving was associated with loneliness, but depended on the loneliness measure used. As such caregivers were more likely to be lonely using the UCLA loneliness scale, but not a direct question. Additionally, the determinants differed for caregivers and non-caregivers: health appeared to play a larger role in non-caregivers’ loneliness, whereas within caregivers, care provision to adult-children was a determinant of loneliness. Finally, as predicted, the combined impact of caregiving and loneliness was associated with worse health and wellbeing outcomes across a number of measures. Overall, there was limited evidence of a long-term effect of caregiving on loneliness, which implies that the impact of caregiving is acute rather than chronic, highlighting a need for early intervention. Finally, the evidence suggests that caregiving may have more substantial effects on mental health and wellbeing than for physical health, which provides direction for policy development.
Article
Full-text available
Removing oneself from social interactions, referred to as social withdrawal, has primarily been shown to predict maladjustment. Previous research distinguishing between social withdrawal subtypes based on individual differences in underlying social motivations, indicates that shyness and avoidance are more problematic than unsociability, particularly during the emerging adulthood years. Nevertheless, little research has examined the potential upside to social withdrawal. The aim of this study was to consider differences in well-being between sociable, shy, avoidant, and unsociable emerging adults. Participants included 813 Canadian university students between the ages of 18 to 25. Participants completed a series of self-report surveys assessing social withdrawal and indices of well-being. Results showed that unsociable emerging adults reported significantly greater happiness, satisfaction with their lives, social support, and self-worth than both shy and avoidant emerging adults. Social withdrawal is largely viewed as detrimental to psychosocial functioning; however, these findings show that unsociability might not pose the same risk to emerging adults’ well-being as shyness or avoidance. Indicators of well-being among unsociable emerging adults did not significantly differ from their more sociable counterparts, suggesting there may be an upside to social withdrawal for unsociable individuals.
Article
Full-text available
While social withdrawal in childhood is typically associated with lower academic functioning, little is known about how motivations for social withdrawal may be connected to academic adjustment in emerging adulthood. The purpose of the present study was to examine associations between social withdrawal motivations (i.e., shyness, avoidance and unsociability) and indices of academic adjustment, including academic achievement (i.e., grade point average [GPA]) and academic motivation (i.e., intrinsic value, self‐efficacy and test anxiety), while accounting for gender and conscientiousness. Participants were 623 emerging adults between the ages of 18 and 25 (Mage = 20.15, SD = 1.67; 79% female) who were currently attending university. Hierarchical regression results showed that shyness was negatively associated with intrinsic value and self‐efficacy. Whereas shyness was positively associated with test anxiety, avoidance was negatively associated with test anxiety. Social withdrawal motivations were not associated with GPA. The findings suggest that some motivations for social withdrawal play a role in university students’ academic motivation, but not their academic achievement.
Article
The pursuit of tranquility experience has emerged as a new demand in tourism, but the perception of tranquility in tourism remains understudied. Although there are tools in the psychology and acoustics to measure tranquility perception, they are not suitable in tourism research. Therefore, this paper attempts to explore two contextual tourists’ perceptions scale of tranquility by analyzing two distinct destinations. Visual, auditory, and tactile involvement were introduced into the scale construction. A total of 1012 samples were collected from rural tranquil area and desert tranquil area. Following dimension construction and item production, EFA, CFA, reliability and validity tests were performed. Finally, a five-dimensional tranquility perception scale was developed. This study enriches the current themes and perspectives of multisensory involvement in the tranquility research and directs for further research on tourism, culture and tranquility experience.
Article
Loneliness is a risk factor for older adults, one exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although time spent alone is associated with both loneliness and greater well-being, the experience of solitude may depend on the type of activity pursued. We examined formal prosocial activity as one facilitator of positive solitary experiences. Older adults ( N = 165, M age = 71.13, SD = 5.70) highly committed to prosocial-program work (e.g., tutoring) filled out surveys at six random times every day for a week. Using multilevel modeling, we investigated whether participating in prosocial-program activity alone was associated with greater well-being compared to other solitary activity. While prosocial-program activity did not buffer against negative affect in solitude, it promoted positive affect and relatedness when alone. To the extent that prosocial-program work can facilitate positive solitary experiences by enhancing feelings of connection, it may protect against threats to well-being posed by loneliness in later life.
Article
As of July 20, 2021, Covid-19 has killed 4,086,000 people, infected at least 190,169,833 others, and devastated the world’s economy. To slow the spread of the virus, numerous governments instituted “lockdown” policies and quarantines, limiting social interactions to the immediate household. The experience of isolation and uncertainty have contributed to increased fear, anxiety, and loneliness; with limited options of research-supported interventions. Although different in nature, the experiences of quarantine and lockdown have been likened to incarceration. Past research has found meditation and mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) to be effective psychological treatments for prisoners and may therefore translate well into effective methods for the maintenance of psychological well-being for individuals quarantined during the pandemic. More recently, research investigating the effects of meditation and MBIs during the pandemic have demonstrated preliminary evidence for beneficial psychological improvements. In accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA), the current narrative review paper: 1) examines the parallels and differences between the experience of quarantine and imprisonment, 2) investigates the mechanisms through which meditation and mindfulness enact their effects, and 3) systematically reviews literature on the benefits of various types of meditation and MBIs for inmates and individuals in lockdown or quarantine. With this knowledge, the public can garner applicable insight into the potential use of meditation and MBIs for individuals forced to cope with pandemic lockdowns and quarantines. Two hundred and twenty one (221) articles were identified through Pubmed and Google Scholar, and 24 articles were ultimately included in the manuscript.
Article
This study investigated how time to oneself (solitude) is experienced under conditions of extended togetherness with household members during the pandemic. Both structural (living arrangements) and qualitative characteristics (relationship quality and conflict) were examined for their association with solitude desire and daily solitude–affect links. We expected that people living with others and those with more high‐quality as well as those with more conflictual relationships would report better affect quality when experiencing solitude. A Canadian adult lifespan sample (N = 141; Mage = 38.43 years, SDage = 17.51; 81% female; 73% White; data collected from April to August 2020) provided information on household size and relationship characteristics and completed repeated daily life assessments of solitude desire, solitude, and affect. Findings show that living arrangements were not associated with an increased desire for solitude or better affect quality from solitude. Individuals reporting higher relationship quality and individuals reporting more conflict showed more favorable affect quality on days when they had time in solitude than individuals reporting lower quality relationships and lower conflict. Findings add to the growing solitude literature by delineating who seeks and benefits from solitude, and under what conditions.
Article
Although solitude has been portrayed as a potentially constructive domain in adolescence, time alone has been consistently associated with socio‐emotional maladjustment. To address this discrepancy, we explored how adolescents spend their time alone and the links between solitary activities and adjustment outcomes. Adolescents (N = 869, 68% female, Mage = 16.14 ± .50) completed self‐report measures assessing time alone, solitary activities, and indices of adjustment. Latent class analysis revealed three distinct groups based on solitary activities: Passive Media (53.3%), Engaged (i.e., constructive activities; 31.7%), and Thinking (15%). Differences also emerged among these three groups in terms of time alone, negative affect, and loneliness. Implications for the role of solitude in adolescent well‐being are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Self-determination theory proposes a multidimensional representation of motivation comprised of several factors said to fall along a continuum of relative autonomy. The current meta-analysis examined the relationships between these motivation factors in order to demonstrate how reliably they conformed to a predictable continuum-like pattern. Based on data from 486 samples representing over 205,000 participants who completed 1 of 13 validated motivation scales, the results largely supported a continuum-like structure of motivation and indicate that self-determination is central in explaining human motivation. Further examination of heterogeneity indicated that while regulations were predictably ordered across domains and scales, the exact distance between subscales varied across samples in a way that was not explainable by a set of moderators. Results did not support the inclusion of integrated regulation or the 3 subscales of intrinsic motivation (i.e., intrinsic motivation to know, to experience stimulation, and to achieve) due to excessively high interfactor correlations and overlapping confidence intervals. Recommendations for scale refinements and the scoring of motivation are provided.
Article
Full-text available
In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.
Article
Full-text available
A model that integrates and builds on the job demands-resources model and selfdetermination theory is proposed to better understand the role of work motivation in relation to job resources, occupational commitment and emotional exhaustion. Two forms of motivation were studied: autonomous motivation, in which employees act with volition,; and controlled motivation, in which they act under internal or external pressure. Data were collected at two time points nine months apart from a sample of 586 school principals in Quebec, Canada. SEM analysis results support the hypothesized model. Specifically, job resources had a positive effect on autonomous motivation but a negative effect on controlled motivation. In addition, taking into account the cross-lagged effects of job resources on commitment and exhaustion, autonomous motivation had a negative effect on exhaustion but a positive effect on commitment whereas controlled motivation had a positive effect on exhaustion. These results advance the understanding of why work motivation acts on employee functioning and how it can play an active role in both the motivational and energetic processes of the job demands-resources model. Practical implications and further theoretical implications are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Social withdrawal has been associated with adjustment difficulties across development. Although much is known about shyness, little is known about preference-for-solitude; even less is known about its relations with adjustment across different periods of adolescence. We examined whether preference-for-solitude might be differentially associated with adjustment difficulties in early and late adolescence. Self- and parent-reports of withdrawal motivations and adjustment were collected from 234 eighth graders (113 boys; M age = 13.43) and 204 twelfth graders (91 boys; M age = 17.25). Results from structural equation modeling demonstrated that above and beyond the effects of shyness, preference-for-solitude was more strongly associated with adjustment difficulties in 8th grade than in 12th grade. Preference-for-solitude was associated with greater anxiety/depression, emotion dysregulation, and lower self-esteem in 8th grade; these relations were not found in 12th grade. Although preference-for-solitude was associated with lower social competence in both 8th and 12th grades, this relation was significantly stronger in 8th grade than in 12th grade. Findings suggest preference-for-solitude has closer ties to maladjustment in early adolescence than in late adolescence. Interventions targeting preferred-solitary youth in early adolescence may be particularly fruitful.
Article
Full-text available
A meta-analysis, a review, and an experiment investigated the effect of arousal on attraction. The meta-analysis examined experiments that manipulated arousal level. Results indicated that arousal affects attraction even when the arousal source is relatively unambiguous. In contrast, a review of experiments that manipulated arousal source ambiguity suggested that arousal exerts a stronger influence on attraction when arousal sources are greater in ambiguity. The authors proposed a judgment and adjustment model that states that arousal automatically affects judgments of attraction but that individuals can correct (i.e., adjust) for this automatic effect when the arousal source is unambiguous. Consistent with this model, an experiment provided evidence that cognitive busyness interferes with the adjustment process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
The independence of positive and negative affect has been heralded as a major and counterintuitive finding in the psychology of mood and emotion. Still, other findings support the older view that positive and negative fall at opposite ends of a single bipolar continuum. Independence versus bipolarity can be reconciled by considering (a) the activation dimension of affect, (b) random and systematic measurement error, and (c) how items are selected to achieve an appropriate test of bipolarity. In 3 studies of self-reported current affect, random and systematic error were controlled through multiformat measurement and confirmatory factor analysis. Valence was found to be independent of activation, positive affect the bipolar opposite of negative affect, and deactivation the bipolar opposite of activation. The dimensions underlying D. Watson, L. A. Clark, and A. Tellegen's (1988) Positive and Negative Affect schedule were accounted for by the valence and activation dimensions.
Article
Full-text available
In Western, postindustrial societies, the timing of home leaving is increasingly delayed. The diversity of home-leaving patterns, resulting from this evolution, has not yet been systematically studied from a psychological perspective. In this study, the authors aimed to examine how emerging adults' living arrangements-and the motives underlying those arrangements, as conceptualized in self-determination theory-relate to subjective well-being. A Belgian sample of 224 emerging adults and their parents completed self-report questionnaires. Analyses that used structural equation modeling showed that autonomous motivation for one's living arrangement is more strongly related to emerging adults' well-being than the living arrangement per se. Further, autonomy-supportive parenting was found to relate positively to an autonomously regulated residential status. Implications for the meaning and development of autonomy during emerging adulthood are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
As a prototypic negative emotion, anger would seem to have little in common with positive activation, as measured by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; D. Watson, L. A. Clark, & A. Tellegen, 1988). However, growing evidence suggests that both anger and positive affect are associated with approach motivation. This suggests the counterintuitive hypotheses that positive affect should be increased by anger-evoking situations, and that positive affect and anger should be directly correlated in such situations. Four studies tested and supported these hypotheses. Discussion focuses on the implications of these results.
Article
Full-text available
People are often seen as social creatures and, consequently, solitary behaviors are often cast in a negative light. However, the authors hypothesized that the act of spending time alone is not necessarily related to negative outcomes; rather, individuals' motivation for doing so plays a key role. On the basis of self-determination theory (E. L Deci & R. M. Ryan, 2000; R. M. Ryan & E. L. Deci, 2000), the authors predicted and found that when individuals spend time alone in a volitional and autonomous manner, they counterintuitively report lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of well-being.
Article
Full-text available
Age differences in emotional experience over the adult life span were explored, focusing on the frequency, intensity, complexity, and consistency of emotional experience in everyday life. One hundred eighty-four people, age 18 to 94 years, participated in an experience-sampling procedure in which emotions were recorded across a 1-week period. Age was unrelated to frequency of positive emotional experience. A curvilinear relationship best characterized negative emotional experience. Negative emotions declined in frequency until approximately age 60, at which point the decline ceased. Individual factor analyses computed for each participant revealed that age was associated with more differentiated emotional experience. In addition, periods of highly positive emotional experience were more likely to endure among older people and periods of highly negative emotional experience were less stable. Findings are interpreted within the theoretical framework of socioemotional selectivity theory.
Article
Full-text available
Human beings can be proactive and engaged or, alternatively, passive and alienated, largely as a function of the social conditions in which they develop and function. Accordingly, research guided by self-determination theory has focused on the social-contextual conditions that facilitate versus forestall the natural processes of self-motivation and healthy psychological development. Specifically, factors have been examined that enhance versus undermine intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and well-being. The findings have led to the postulate of three innate psychological needs--competence, autonomy, and relatedness--which when satisfied yield enhanced self-motivation and mental health and when thwarted lead to diminished motivation and well-being. Also considered is the significance of these psychological needs and processes within domains such as health care, education, work, sport, religion, and psychotherapy.
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the development and validation of a scale to measure global life satisfaction, the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Among the various components of subjective well-being, the SWLS is narrowly focused to assess global life satisfaction and does not tap related constructs such as positive affect or loneliness. The SWLS is shown to have favorable psychometric properties, including high internal consistency and high temporal reliability. Scores on the SWLS correlate moderately to highly with other measures of subjective well-being, and correlate predictably with specific personality characteristics. It is noted that the SWLS is Suited for use with different age groups, and other potential uses of the scale are discussed.
Article
Can people enjoy thinking if they set their mind to it? Previous work suggests that many people do not enjoy the deliberate attempt to have pleasurable thoughts. We suggest that deliberately thinking for pleasure requires mental resources that people are either unwilling or unable to devote to the task. If so, then people should enjoy pleasant thoughts that occur unintentionally more than pleasant thoughts that occur intentionally. This hypothesis was confirmed in an experience sampling study (Study 1) in which participants were contacted 4 times a day for 7 days and asked to rate what they had been thinking about. In Studies 2-5 we experimentally manipulated how easy it was for people to engage in pleasurable thought when given the goal of doing so. All participants listed topics they would enjoy thinking about; then some were given a simple "thinking aid" that was designed to make this experience easier. Participants who received the aid found the experience easier and enjoyed it more. The findings suggest that thinking for pleasure is cognitively demanding, but that a simple thinking aid makes it easier and more enjoyable. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
This article reports the development and validation of a scale to measure global life satisfaction, the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Among the various components of subjective well-being, the SWLS is narrowly focused to assess global life satisfaction and does not tap related constructs such as positive affect or loneliness. The SWLS is shown to have favorable psychometric properties, including high internal consistency and high temporal reliability. Scores on the SWLS correlate moderately to highly with other measures of subjective well-being, and correlate predictably with specific personality characteristics. It is noted that the SWLS is suited for use with different age groups, and other potential uses of the scale are discussed.
Article
A practical methodology is presented for creating closeness in an experimental context. Whether or not an individual is in a relationship, particular pairings of individuals in the relationship, and circumstances of relationship development become manipulated variables. Over a 45-min period subject pairs carry out self-disclosure and relationship-building tasks that gradually escalate in intensity. Study 1 found greater postinteraction closeness with these tasks versus comparable small-talk tasks. Studies 2 and 3 found no significant closeness effects, inspite of adequate power, for (a) whether pairs were matched for nondisagreement on important attitudes, (b) whether pairs were led to expect mutual liking, or (c) whether getting close was made an explicit goal. These studies also illustrated applications for addressing theoretical issues, yielding provocative tentative findings relating to attachment style and introversion/extraversion.
Article
In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Seven hundred and fifty-three observations were collected on 25 adolescents at random times during an average week. The observations consisted of self-reports completed in response to an electronic pager. The study was aimed at the question: What is the experience of time alone like for adolescents? The results suggest a complex but consistent relationship: while aloneness is generally a negative experience, those adolescents who spend a moderate amount of time alone (about 30 percent of their waking time) tend to show better overall adjustment than adolescents who are either never alone or spend more than the optimal proportion of time alone. Alienation and average moods showed inverse linear or quadratic relationships with amount of time alone. These results are discussed in terms of the possible psycho-social functions of aloneness at the adolescent stage of the life cycle.
Article
A 4-week experimental study (N = 67) examined the motivational predictors and positive emotion outcomes of regularly practicing two mental exercises: counting one's blessings (“gratitude”) and visualizing best possible selves (“BPS”). In a control exercise, participants attended to the details of their day. Undergraduates performed one of the three exercises during Session I and were asked to continue performing it at home until Session II (in 2 weeks) and again until Session III (in a further 2 weeks). Following previous theory and research, the practices of gratitude and BPS were expected to boost immediate positive affect, relative to the control condition. In addition, we hypothesized that continuing effortful performance of these exercises would be necessary to maintain the boosts (Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005a22. Lyubomirsky , S , Sheldon , KM and Schkade , D . 2005a. Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9: 111–131. [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®]View all references). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111–131). Finally, initial self-concordant motivation to perform the exercise was expected to predict actual performance and to moderate the effects of performance on increased mood. Results generally supported these hypotheses, and suggested that the BPS exercise may be most beneficial for raising and maintaining positive mood. Implications of the results for understanding the critical factors involved in increasing and sustaining positive affect are discussed.
Article
a b s t r a c t The present study tested a four-factor model of adolescent loneliness and solitude that comprises peer-related loneliness, family loneliness, negative attitude toward solitude, and positive attitude toward sol-itude. Nine different instruments for a total of 14 scales and derivative subscales were completed by a sample of mid-adolescents (N = 534) from Grades 10 through 12 (aged 15–18 years) in the Dutch-speak-ing part of Belgium. As expected, the four-factor solution provided a better fit to the data than did alter-native models that comprised just a single factor, or two and three factors. Use of the Loneliness and Aloneness Scale for Children and Adolescents (LACA) is recommended, because the instrument measures all four aspects of the model. Implications for current theories on adolescent loneliness and associated phenomena, such as adolescents' attitude toward being on their own, are briefly discussed.
Article
Christopher R. Long and James R. Averill, Solitude: An Exploration of Benefits of Being Alone, pp. 21–44. Historically, philosophers, artists, and spiritual leaders have extolled the benefits of solitude; currently, advice on how to achieve solitude is the subject of many popular books and articles. Seldom, however, has solitude been studied by psychologists, who have focused instead on the negative experiences associated with being alone, particularly loneliness. Solitude, in contrast to loneliness, is often a positive state—one that may be sought rather than avoided. In this article, we examine some of the benefits that have been attributed to solitude—namely, freedom, creativity, intimacy, and spirituality. In subsequent sections, we consider the environmental settings and personality characteristics conducive to solitude, how time spent alone is experienced differently across the life span, and the potential dangers related to the attractiveness of solitude. We conclude with a brief discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of solitude.
Article
The primary goals of this study were to test a conceptual model linking social approach and avoidance motivations, socially withdrawn behaviors, and peer difficulties in later childhood and to compare the socioemotional functioning of different subtypes of withdrawn children (shy, unsociable, avoidant). Participants were 367 children, aged 9-12 years. Measures included assessments of social motivations (i.e., self-reported shyness and preference for solitude) and social withdrawal (observations of solitary behaviors in the schoolyard and self-reports of solitary activities outside of school), as well as self- and parent-reported peer difficulties and internalizing problems. Among the results, both shyness and preference for solitude were associated with socially withdrawn behaviors, which in turn predicted peer difficulties. However, only shyness (but not preference for solitude) also displayed a direct path to peer difficulties. As well, results from person-oriented analyses indicated that different subtypes of socially withdrawn children displayed decidedly different profiles with regard to indices of internalizing problems. For example, whereas unsociable children did not differ from their nonwithdrawn peers on indices of internalizing problems, socially avoidant (i.e., high in both shyness and unsociability) children reported the most pervasive socioemotional difficulties. Findings are discussed in terms of the implications of different forms of social withdrawal for socioemotional functioning in later childhood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
From childhood to old age people spend increasing amounts of their waking hours alone. This paper examines this enlarging solitary part of daily life as a distinct “experiential niche” having unique potentials and liabilities. The paper synthesizes a program of research in which people of different ages have provided reports on their experiences at random times during the day, including times when they are alone. Findings show that the immediate experience of daily solitude is usually one of loneliness and passivity. This is particularly true in adolescence; for older samples aloneness becomes both more common and less emotionally negative. At the same time, adolescents who spend at least some portion of their time alone appear to be better adjusted, perhaps because solitude facilitates the adolescent developmental tasks of individuation and identity formation, while in adulthood and old age, spending large amounts of time alone is more likely to be correlated with poor adjustment.
Article
Typescript. Thesis (M.S.)--University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2006. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 76-77).
Article
Theories of internalization typically suggest that self-perceptions of the "causes" of (i.e. reasons for) behavior are differentiated along a continuum of autonomy that contains identifiable gradations. A model of perceived locus of causality (PLOC) is developed, using children's self-reported reasons for acting. In Project 1, external, introjected, identified, and intrinsic types of reasons for achievement-related behaviors are shown to conform to a simplex-like (ordered correlation) structure in four samples. These reason categories are then related to existing measures of PLOC and to motivation. A second project examines 3 reason categories (external, introject, and identification) within the domain of prosocial behavior. Relations with measures of empathy, moral judgement and positive interpersonal relatedness are presented. Finally, the proposed model and conceptualization of PLOC are discussed with regard to intrapersonal versus interpersonal perception, internalization, cause-reason distinctions, and the significance of perceived autonomy in human behavior.
Article
This research investigates the quantity and quality of time alone or "solitude" in the daily lives of older adults. A sample of 92 retired adults carried electronic pagers for 1 week and filled out self-reports on their companionship and internal states in response to signals received at random times. Analysis of the 3,412 reports indicates that those who were unmarried and living alone spent a majority of their waking hours alone and experienced low affect and arousal when in this dominant part of their lives. For the married, solitude was also a major part of daily life, filling 40% of their time, but, although it was related with somewhat lower affect, it was also related with higher arousal. These results suggest that being alone is not a wholley negative experience for this age group, especially for those who have the regular companionship of a spouse.
Article
This paper presents evidence from three samples, two of college students and one of participants in a community smoking-cessation program, for the reliability and validity of a 14-item instrument, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), designed to measure the degree to which situations in one's life are appraised as stressful. The PSS showed adequate reliability and, as predicted, was correlated with life-event scores, depressive and physical symptomatology, utilization of health services, social anxiety, and smoking-reduction maintenance. In all comparisons, the PSS was a better predictor of the outcome in question than were life-event scores. When compared to a depressive symptomatology scale, the PSS was found to measure a different and independently predictive construct. Additional data indicate adequate reliability and validity of a four-item version of the PSS for telephone interviews. The PSS is suggested for examining the role of nonspecific appraised stress in the etiology of disease and behavioral disorders and as an outcome measure of experienced levels of stress.
Article
Adolescents spend one-quarter of their waking hours alone, yet the significance of this time is little understood. This study evaluates developmental changes in the experience of solitude between late childhood and early adolescence. Four hundred eighty-three European American fifth through ninth graders provided experience-sampling reports on their companionship and subjective states at random times over a week. The findings show, first, that time alone becomes more voluntary across this age period. Second, time-series analysis shows that for seventh through ninth graders, but not fifth and sixth graders, solitude had a positive after effect on emotional state. Third, adolescents, but not preadolescents, who spent an intermediate amount of their time alone were better adjusted than those who spent little or a great deal of time alone. As a whole, the findings suggest that, while continuing to be a lonely time, in early adolescence solitude comes to have a more constructive role in daily life as a strategic retreat that complements social experience.
Article
In this article, we examine subjective vitality, a positive feeling of aliveness and energy, in six studies. Subjective vitality is hypothesized to reflect organismic well-being and thus should covary with both psychological and somatic factors that impact the energy available to the self. Associations are shown between subjective vitality and several indexes of psychological well-being; somatic factors such as physical symptoms and perceived body functioning; and basic personality traits and affective dispositions. Subsequently, vitality is shown to be lower in people with chronic pain compared to matched controls, especially those who perceive their pain to be disabling or frightening. Subjective vitality is further associated with self-motivation and maintained weight loss among patients treated for obesity. Finally, subjective vitality is assessed in a diary study for its covariation with physical symptoms. Discussion focuses on the phenomenological salience of personal energy and its relations to physical and psychological well-being.
Article
Attachment research has traditionally focused on individual differences in global patterns of attachment to important others. The current research instead focuses primarily on within-person variability in attachments across relational partners. It was predicted that within-person variability would be substantial, even among primary attachment figures of mother, father, romantic partner, and best friend. The prediction was supported in three studies. Furthermore, in line with self-determination theory, multilevel modeling and regression analyses showed that, at the relationship level, individuals' experience of fulfillment of the basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness positively predicted overall attachment security, model of self, and model of other. Relations of both attachment and need satisfaction to well-being were also explored.
Article
Solitude may be positive or negative, depending on situational and personal factors. From prior research, nine types of solitude were identified. Based on data from a questionnaire study of undergraduate participants, factor analysis suggests that these nine types can be reduced to three dimensions, two positive and one negative. These are, respectively, Inner-Directed Solitude (characterized by self-discovery and inner peace), Outer-Directed Solitude (characterized by intimacy and spirituality), and Loneliness. Personality and value correlates, as well as situational correlates, of the various types of solitude also were explored.
Article
The affective explosion in psychology has led to tremendous advances in mood measurement. Mood ratings reflect a hierarchical structure consisting of two broad dimensions-Positive Affect and Negative Affect-and multiple specific states. Brief scales have been developed that reliably assess Positive and Negative Affect across different populations and time frames, in both between- and within-subject data. We examine controversies related to (a) the content of these higher order scales and (b) the independence of Positive and Negative Affect. Regarding the latter, we show that Positive and Negative Affect scales remain largely independent across a wide range of conditions, even after controlling for random and systematic error. Finally, there remains little consensus regarding the lower order structure of affect. This lack of a compelling taxonomy has substantially slowed progress in assessing mood at the specific affect level.
Experiences of solitude: Issues of assessment, theory, and culture The handbook of solitude: Psychological perspectives on social isolation, social withdrawal, and being alone
  • J R Averill
  • L Sundararajan
Averill, J. R., & Sundararajan, L. (2014). Experiences of solitude: Issues of assessment, theory, and culture. In R. J. Coplan & J. C. Bowker (Eds.), The handbook of solitude: Psychological perspectives on social isolation, social withdrawal, and being alone (90108). Malden, MA: Wiley.
The subjective experience of solitude
  • C R Long
  • T A More
  • J R Averill
Long, C. R., More, T. A., & Averill, J. R. (2007). The subjective experience of solitude. In R. Burns & K. Robinson (Chair), Proceedings of the 2006 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium (pp. 68-76). Newtown Square, PA.
The handbook of solitude: Psychological perspectives on social isolation, social withdrawal, and being alone
  • J R Averill
  • L Sundararajan