Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Maria T. Riva, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gloria Miller

Third Advisor

Cynthia McRae

Fourth Advisor

Ruth Chao


Child loneliness, Friendship, Mixed-method, Parent-child relationship, School


Relatively little research has been conducted to examine the role of parent-child relationships in understanding loneliness during middle childhood. Twelve second to fourth grade children attending several elementary schools in a large western urban district were asked to complete the Loneliness and Social Dissatisfaction Questionnaire (LSDQ, Asher, Hymel & Renshaw, 1984) and the Parent-child Relationship Questionnaire (PCRQ, Furman & Giberson, 1995). The parents of all child participants were also invited to complete the same questionnaires. A sample of eight children, four who reported highest scores and four who reported lowest scores on the LSDQ, participated in follow-up qualitative interviews which inquired children's friendships, relationships with parents, attitudes toward school, and preferred coping strategies with loneliness experiences. It was found that there was a significant positive correlation between the child-reported and the parent-reported child loneliness scores, suggesting that parents were accurately aware of their children's loneliness levels. It was also found that the child-reported parent-child relationship and child loneliness were significantly and negatively correlated, meaning that the lower level of child-reported parent-child relationship quality, the higher level of child-reported child loneliness. Additionally, the qualitative data suggested that children with different levels of loneliness coped differently. They also seemed to hold different beliefs and expectations regarding their friendships, parent-child relationships, and attachments with school. Increasing our understanding of child loneliness will enable school and mental health professionals to develop more effective strategies to support children who are feeling extremely lonely and who may lack of home support. Identifying these at-risk children early and intervening with intensive individual plans through home-school collaboration may prevent poor long term academic and social-emotional outcomes.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Nanxi Xu


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

143 p.


Developmental Psychology