A developmental social neuroscience model for understanding loneliness in adolescence

Man Lok Nichol WONG, Patcy P. S. YEUNG, Tatia M. C. LEE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Loneliness is prevalent in adolescents. Although it can be a normative experience, children and adolescents who experience loneliness are often at risk for anxiety, depression, and suicide. Research efforts have been made to identify the neurobiological basis of such distressful feelings in our social brain. In adolescents, the social brain is still undergoing significant development, which may contribute to their increased and differential sensitivity to the social environment. Many behavioral studies have shown the significance of attachment security and social skills in adolescents’ interactions with the social world. In this review, we propose a developmental social neuroscience model that extends from the social neuroscience model of loneliness. In particular, we argue that the social brain and social skills are both important for the development of adolescents’ perceived loneliness and that adolescents’ familial attachment sets the baseline for neurobiological development. By reviewing the related behavioral and neuroimaging literature, we propose a developmental social neuroscience model to explain the heightened perception of loneliness in adolescents using social skills and attachment style as neurobiological moderators. We encourage future researchers to investigate adolescents’ perceived social connectedness from the developmental neuroscience perspective. Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-103
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Volume13
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Citation

Wong, N. M. L., Yeung, P. P. S., & Lee, T. M. C. (2018). A developmental social neuroscience model for understanding loneliness in adolescence. Social Neuroscience, 13(1), 94-103. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2016.1256832

Keywords

  • Loneliness
  • Social neuroscience
  • Adolescence
  • Development
  • Social connectedness

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A developmental social neuroscience model for understanding loneliness in adolescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.