Teenagers can come across as moody, lonely creatures, less likely to join clubs, have fewer close friends and less likely to see others as trustworthy.
Researchers from the University of Queensland and Griffith University used high school and college student data to find out if teenagers really are lonely.
The researchers examined past studies to look at changes in loneliness over time, and gender differences in loneliness.
College students through the year 1978 to 2009 showed a modest decline in loneliness. Female students reported lower loneliness than male college students.
Researchers also looked at high school students and found a decline in loneliness from 1991 to 2012.
Lead researcher David Clark says the the trend may be caused by modernisation.
“People become less dependent on their families and need more specialized skills, which could lead to less interest in social support and more self-sufficiency,” Clark says. “Over time, people are more individualistic, more extroverted, and have higher self-esteem.”
The findings are published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
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