Loneliness, social interaction, and sex roles

Ladd Wheeler*, Harry Reis, John B. Nezlek

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    237 Citations (Scopus)


    43 male and 53 female undergraduates maintained the Rochester Interaction Record for 2 wks, providing information about social interactions of 10 min or more. Ss then completed the revised UCLA Loneliness Scale and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire. For both sexes, loneliness was negatively related to the amount of time spent with females and to the meaningfulness of interaction with males and females. However, meaningfulness with males was more important than meaningfulness with females. Femininity was negatively related to loneliness for both sexes and partially mediated the above relationships. There were sex differences, however, in the extent to which variables overlapped in predicting loneliness. For example, a large group of nonlonely males was characterized both by having meaningful relationships with males and by spending time with females, whereas a 2nd group of nonlonely males was characterized simply by having meaningful relationships with males. The largest group of nonlonely females was characterized simply by having meaningful relationships with males, but another sizable group was characterized simply by spending time with females. Females doing both accounted for little of the variance. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)943-953
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 1983


    • meaningfulness of social interaction, loneliness, college students
    • sex differences &
    • sex roles &


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