This chapter considers three ways in which self-evaluation processes influence loneliness. We look first at how people label themselves as lonely, and consider cognitive discrepancy models of loneliness. Such models emphasize that loneliness occurs when people perceive that their social relations are deficient in some important way. We next examine people's causal attributions for loneliness. The explanations people construct for their loneliness can influence the feelings and behaviors that accompany the experience of loneliness. Finally, we consider the reciprocal relationship of loneliness and self-esteem. Evidence suggests that low self-esteem puts people at risk for loneliness. Further, since social relations are a core component of our self-conception, persistent loneliness can lead to feelings of worthlessness and lowered self-esteem. A central theme in this chapter is that cognitive processes color the experience of loneliness, shaping our feelings and guiding our actions.
Loneliness and self-evaluation
Contributo in volume
Wiley-Interscience, New York, USA
Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research and therapy, edited by L.A. Peplau; D. Perlman, pp. 135–151. New York: Wiley-Interscience, 1982